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The U.S. military has finally pulled out from Afghanistan, almost 20 years to the date after the heinous terrorist attacks of 9/11. It leaves behind a country ruled by a group of Islamist extremists, where ISIS fighters run amok, Afghan women fear the almost certain loss of their newfound rights, and with thousands of Afghan allies and American nationals left behind enemy lines.
Among those who are now at the Taliban’s mercy is Mohammed, an interpreter who reduced then-senator, Joe Biden, after his helicopter made a forced landing in the middle of a snowstorm in 2008.
According to an exclusive report by The Wall Street Journal, the interpreter is now stranded in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, hiding with his four children after his yearlong attempts to get a special visa to escape Afghanistan have smashed in the face of bureaucracy. He sent a message to the President, telling him “Hello Mr. President: Save me and my family”.
Mohammed is not the only translator stranded in Taliban-dominated Afghanistan, with Reuters reporting that 250,000 Afghan allies are at risk of being left in Afghanistan, with the most likely scenario being that the vast majority of them have been left to fend by themselves in the newly installed Islamist Emirate of Afghanistan.
Biden was saved by Mohammed, now he is asking the President to repay the favor
In 2008, Biden was the senior senator for Delaware and was running against a large field of Democratic hopefuls for that year’s candidacy, including Barack Obama. He made a trip to Afghanistan with then-Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE) when his black hawk helicopter was forced to make an emergency landing after a serious snowstorm, forcing the U.S. Army and Afghan allies to aid the stranded group of Senators.
Mohammed then departed with a convoy of armored vehicles from Bagram’s airbase, the same that the U.S. military abandoned last July in the middle of the night, with a quick reaction force from the 82nd Airborne division to rescue Biden. The senators have landed in an area nearby a place where the U.S. military had killed a dozen Taliban a few weeks before, the trio of lawmakers when then safely transported back to the strategic Bagram air base after Mohammed and U.S. servicemen speed through thick snow to rescue them.
Mohammed has repeatedly tried to get out of Afghanistan, with the translator applying for a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) in order to legally reach the safety of the United States of America, the country he had aided for a long time. However, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, his application became stuck in the grinding machine of immigration bureaucracy, with his contractor losing the valuable paperwork that proved Mohammed’s work with the U.S.
He then tried, as thousands of Afghans and Americans did, to bypass the Taliban checkpoints near the Kabul airport and reach one of the evacuation planes flown by the Western allies. He was able to get into the airport, however, the American soldiers told him that his family could not get in. Mohammed, understandably, left the airfield.
Mohammed told the WSJ that he is currently hidden in his home “scared” and unable to leave his house. In the meantime, the Taliban continue their round-up and execution of not only Afghan translators and allies but also of the Hazara minority population who have been viciously targeted by the Taliban.
With the American retreat from Afghanistan complete, thousands of Afghans and hundreds of American civilians will be living under the constant fear of Taliban reprisals, and many will be trying to leave the now fundamentalist Afghanistan. However, it is quite likely that many would be asking themselves: If the guy who saved President Biden wasn’t able to get out, what is left for us?
Daniel is a Political Science and Economics student from the University of South Florida. He worked as a congressional intern to Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) from January to May 2020. He also is the head of international analysis at Politiks // Daniel es un estudiante de Cs Políticas y Economía en la Universidad del Sur de la Florida. Trabajo como pasante legislativo para el Representate Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) desde enero hasta mayo del 2020. Daniel también es el jefe de análisis internacional de Politiks.