TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Three American residents who spent a year hiding from the Taliban in Afghanistan are back on U.S. soil thanks to the efforts of Tampa-based non-profit Project Dynamo.

Rahima Sadaat, 83, Noor Mohammad Ataie, 72, and Ataie’s wife Anisa Ataie, 59 were rescued from Kabul on Monday, the group said.

The rescue comes one year after U.S. forces completed their withdrawal from Afghanistan, and Taliban forces returned to power.

According to Project Dynamo, the Taliban has arrested a number of Western and Western-affiliated persons as political leverage or out of anger.

Thousands have since fled the country to escape Taliban rule.

The group said the three Americans went to Afghanistan to visit family, not knowing they were only a few months away from the takeover. Sadaat arrived in March 2021, and Anisa and Noor Mohammed Ataie arrived the following month.

Sadaat, a single woman, was traveling by herself, which is against Taliban law, and was forced to hide with other family members.

“While in hiding over the last year, the Ataies say they were scared to leave their house on many occasions in fear of being caught by Taliban-controlled law enforcement, where the discovery of a U.S. Green Card might lead to arrest, torture, or even a death sentence,” the group said.

The couple is currently waiting to have their Special Immigrant Visa applications approved. Their sons have both worked for the U.S. military. One was a contractor and the other worked as an interpreter for both the military and NATO, the group said.

They live in Sacramento, California.

Project DYNAMO is a joint effort by two operations, Digital Dunkirk and Dynamo II, that helps Americans and allies abroad flee areas of conflict.

“Project DYNAMO is currently conducting rescue operations in two separate conflict zones on two different continents with no U.S. government presence nor functioning embassy in either country, where any Americans in these areas are at high-risk and far from safe,” said Project Dynamo Co-Founder Bryan Stern. “Russians are actively searching for Americans to illegally arrest, trade, or execute; the Taliban is looking to detain or kill any American or allies of the West in Afghanistan. Both of these countries have Americans and allies there with no way out and little to no ability for the U.S. government to assist. In the majority of these cases, Project DYNAMO and our donors are their last hope.”