US veterans worked with several private charities to leverage their contacts in Afghanistan and Pakistan and extract Aman Khalili and his family, after the US-led airlift from Kabul ended on August 30, leaving them behind.
They were successful last week, driving Khalili, his wife and their five children about 600 miles across Afghanistan and the Pakistani border, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The interpreter who helped rescue Joe Biden in 2008 from a snowy Afghanistan valley has escaped the country. Here’s how he got out. https://t.co/1NEpD3xGMB
Khalili was the interpreter for the 82nd Airborne force that was deployed from Bagram Air Field to rescue Biden and his colleagues John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) and Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska) in February 2008, when their helicopter made an emergency landing in Afghanistan during a bad snowstorm.
He tried applying for a special immigrant visa (SIV) to take his family to the US in 2016, but was denied because the contractor he worked for had reportedly deleted their records. When they arrived at Kabul International Airport, Khalili was told he could come in – but his family would have to stay behind. He refused. A day after the Kabul airlift ended, the Journal reported on his plight, printing his personal plea to Biden.
“Hello Mr. President: Save me and my family. Don’t forget me here,” said Khalili, then identified only as ‘Mohammed’.
According to the Journal, Khalili went into hiding. US veterans trying to help him were told moving the family to a safe house would cost $11,000, then $900 per night, and another $11,000 to get them to the airport safely. Four of Khalili’s five children did not have passports, either. One philanthropist eventually got them a safe house at no charge, while various groups tried to organize an evacuation.
Multiple outfits, including one led by former Blackwater boss Eric Prince and news personality Glenn Beck, tried and failed to get Khalili out of Afghanistan. The outfit that succeeded was Human First Coalition, a charity led by Afghan-American translator Safi Rauf that has reportedly helped more than 6,700 people – including 1,000 Americans – leave Afghanistan since mid-August.
“We made a promise to these people that if you help us bring democracy to Afghanistan and justice to America we will not leave you behind. I believe we owe these Afghan people a dignified life,” Rauf told the WSJ.
The US State Department confirmed on Monday that the Khalilis had left. Brinkwire Summary News. For more information, search on the internet.