by Antonio Olivio for the Washington Post

Mina Stanekzai, 8, strapped on a princess backpack, slipped on her pink shoes that light up when she walks, and — her leg still injured from a suicide bomb — bounced out of her aunt’s Northern Virginia apartment for her first day of school in America.

“How are you?” she said with a heavy Dari accent, practicing some English that might impress her teachers while her aunt, Ferishta Stanekzai, drove to her new school.

“I am fine,” Mina answered herself.

It was a simple American pleasantry for a girl whose life was anything but. Mina is one of the hundreds of Afghans who have settled into the Washington region as part of an airlift out of Afghanistan that launched the greatest influx of refugees the United States has seen since the end of the Vietnam War.

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