By Katy Sheehan
CNN Senior International Correspondent
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan — Dozens of families from some of the first families to arrive in this tiny Afghan city to take advantage of an almost unprecedented surge in U.S. troop levels showed up at the base Tuesday morning.
Tiny Afghan men wearing simple turbans with construction gloves wrapped around them lay on the carpeted floor outside the building that houses U.S. Ambassador Thomas R. Bossert’s office. These are the families that the United States recently reopened its embassy in Kabul to accommodate.
“There’s been an incredible influx of people pouring in,” said Bossert, who had come in from Washington Tuesday night to get a firsthand look at the situation. “It’s been a great thing, a source of optimism. We’re running out of rooms.”
Nearly every household was holding an anxious group of children or grandchildren.
This is also the first group to start integrating with local Afghans while our troops are here as part of the Obama administration’s planned drawdown from this vital effort in the U.S. and coalition campaign against the Taliban and al Qaeda.
One Afghan mom, amid screams and shouts, told FOX News that her husband was supposed to return from a Taliban prison on Wednesday. He was one of the 16 people arrested a few weeks ago at an alleged security school in Kabul. Fourteen Afghans died.
“We don’t know if our son is still alive,” said Hama Saeedi, a chai shop owner. “So we feel fear.”
Working with local Afghan interpreters in the Kabul neighborhood where the prison was located, the U.S. military initiated a kind of prisoner swap deal to release the 15 Taliban insurgents from the U.S. base. The deal was cut between the Taliban, the Afghan Defense Ministry and the Pentagon.
For 12 people, it was to be part of a quick exchange at Bagram for Afghan torture victims. And here are the people who were set to receive that favor in exchange for their loved ones’ return.
Afghan radio talk show host Najibullah Zahir called the escape Wednesday from one Taliban prison by up to 17 prisoners “an American miracle.”
But the notion of citizens of two nations switching their allegiance and turning their backs on centuries of national feuding is not without risk. In the past, it’s been tribal fighting.
Now one Afghan security official said the risk is that after years of decades of conflict, even for a few days that could mean dropping your weapon, ending the fight and walking away with a smile. He said that could set the stage for the Taliban to begin again, sooner rather than later.
The senior Afghan official said that for every five Taliban coming in, the U.S. was releasing four innocents, including some 20-year-old high school kids.
He called it a half-deal, after the U.S. left behind about 1,500 Afghan forces who were in school at the time and apparently were not involved in the exchange deal.
By mid-morning, the rush of people forced many parents to wait in line past the front door of the U.S. embassy hoping for a visa so they could leave this ordeal behind.
“A few hours from now, we’ll be going back,” said one angry Afghan dad, clutching his 15-year-old son’s hand.
“We don’t know what the future is going to be, but we want to go back,” he added.