Afghans who aided the U.S. in its decades-long war are now facing abandonment and possibly death as the clock winds down on a withdrawal deadline and the Taliban takes over.
“We are hopeless right now. We don’t have any plan for the future right now,” said Jan, who the Herald has agreed to identify only by his first name due to security concerns.
Jan, an Afghan National Army official who aided the U.S. with English translations, laid out his family’s struggle during a 25-minute call with reporters on Tuesday that was set up by 9th Congressional candidate Jesse Brown.
Brown is seizing onto the “chaotic and disastrous withdrawal” from Afghanistan as an opportunity to edge out Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. William Keating.
About 50,000 to 65,000 Afghans are still awaiting evacuation assistance from the U.S. government, President Joe Biden said recently. Up to 15,000 U.S. citizens also remain inside the country. Their situation remains bleak as Biden on Tuesday said he remains committed to an Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline.
“Right now I have $1.50 in my pocket. I’m just buying a little food to stay alive with my family,” Jan said.
Jan has served in his country’s army since 2004 and worked with the U.S. military for more than a decade with translations after learning English.
“My family is scared,” Jan told reporters over the phone. “My wife and my two daughters, they say, ‘Daddy, the Taliban will kill you.'”
Jan and his family are now in hiding in Kabul after the province in the northern part of the country where they lived was overtaken by the Taliban in a single day. Taliban forces searched homes one-by-one for people like Jan, who they consider enemies, Jan said.
His family is changing their location every two days, staying with trusted friends and family to avoid detection.
“Because of the mismanagement of America’s exit from Afghanistan, Jan is in hiding with his family from the Taliban,” Brown said. “His life and his family’s life is in grave danger because of this demonstrated loyalty to the United States.”
Brown, a former Marine Corps sergeant who served in the Middle East, is challenging Keating in the upcoming 2022 election. And Brown has been vocal about the “thousands more Afghans like Jan” who are being left behind with no protection from the Taliban as U.S. forces move out.
The Brown campaign started slinging shots at Keating for being “silent in the face of this crisis” on the issue of removing Afghan allies.
Campaign spokeswoman Lauren Amendolara called Brown’s statements “a joke.”
“The reason you haven’t heard Congressman Keating talking about the issue is because he doesn’t exploit people in the middle of a humanitarian crisis,” she said.
Amendolara said Keating “has been working nonstop on this issue,” noting Keating was in a meeting with major players on the Afghanistan withdrawal during Brown’s Tuesday morning press conference.
U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch and other federal lawmakers on Monday sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III urging the Biden administration to accelerate evacuations, saying the country has “a moral imperative to rescue our Afghan partners who served alongside and supported U.S. forces.”
(c)2021 the Boston Herald
Visit the Boston Herald at www.bostonherald.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
This content is published through a licensing agreement with Acquire Media using its NewsEdge technology.