An interpreter who previously saved then-Sen. Joe Biden pleaded with the president to rescue him and his family, who were left behind after the United States finished its withdrawal.
The interpreter, who saved Biden and then-Sens. Chuck Hagel and John Kerry after their helicopter was forced to land during a snowstorm in 2008, asked Biden not to forget him — a statement seemingly at odds with the White House’s stance it would continue to aid with evacuation efforts.
“Hello Mr. President: Save me and my family,” the interpreter, identified only as Mohammed, told the Wall Street Journal. “Don’t forget me here.”
Mohammed’s visa application for immigration to the U.S. was stalled when the defense contractor he worked for lost the necessary documents, Brian Genthe, a former staff sergeant in the Arizona National Guard who brought Mohammed along on the 2008 mission to rescue the senators, told the outlet. When the Taliban took over Kabul on Aug. 15, Mohammed attempted to flee to the airport but was told he would have to leave his wife and children behind, prompting him to stay, the report continued.
Army veterans who worked with the interpreter called lawmakers on Mohammed’s behalf.
“If you can only help one Afghan, choose [Mohammed],” wrote Shawn O’Brien, an Army combat veteran who worked with him in Afghanistan in 2008. “He earned it.”
Mohammed is now in hiding from the Taliban and said he is afraid to leave his house.
The interpreter’s inability to flee appears to contradict promises from the White House to help evacuate any U.S. citizen or ally who remains in the nation. White House press secretary Jen Psaki objected using the term “stranded” in describing those left behind.
“I think it’s irresponsible to say Americans are stranded,” Psaki told reporters at a briefing on Aug. 23 when asked whether the troops should have been pulled out before the evacuations of Americans and allies were complete. “They are not.”
Harrowing accounts have continued to emerge from people imploring Biden to help, including a woman who identified as Fatima.
“We are in danger. We are in danger, Mr. President. Please help us,” the woman said during an Aug. 24 appearance on Fox & Friends First. “Yes, we are stranded.”
As of Monday, the U.S. has evacuated more than 120,000 people from Afghanistan, with roughly 6,000 identified as U.S. citizens and their families. Officials said that hundreds of U.S. citizens who wanted to leave the country remained in Afghanistan after the U.S. withdrawal.
The White House declined to comment on individual cases but pointed to Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s statement from Monday night.
“We’ve worked intensely to evacuate and relocate Afghans who worked alongside us, and are at particular risk of reprisal. We’ve gotten many out, but many are still there,” Blinken said. “We will keep working to help them. Our commitment to them has no deadline.”
Author : Misty Severi
Source : Washington Examiner : ‘Don’t forget me’: Former Afghan interpreter who helped rescue Biden pleads for help