Afghan Interpreter Who Once Helped Save Joe Biden Reportedly Begging US for Rescue from Kabul
06:09 GMT 01.09.2021 (Updated: 13:23 GMT 06.08.2022)
As people are trying to flee war-ravaged Afghanistan, there have been concerns that hundreds of military biometric devices, abandoned in US bases, will help the Taliban* to track down and target former security officials and government supporters.
An Afghan man, who worked as an interpreter for the US-controlled Afghan government and once helped save then-Senator Joe Biden in the mountains of Afghanistan in 2008, is reported to have been begging the White House to be rescued from Kabul.
The man was reportedly left behind amid the hasty evacuation of US forces from Afghanistan, The Wall Street Journal writes, quoting the man.
"Hello Mr President: Save me and my family. Don't forget me here", the man called Mohammed (name has been changed over security concerns) told the WSJ.
Mohammed is said to have worked as an interpreter for the US 82nd Airborne force that was deployed from Bagram Air Field to rescue then-Senator Biden and his colleagues John Kerry and Chuck Hagel in February 2008, when their helicopter had to make an emergency landing in Afghanistan during a snowstorm.
Mohammed's family is now reportedly hiding from the Taliban. The former interpreter has been trying to get out of Afghanistan for years but became mired in bureaucratic red tape. The man had applied for a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV), a programme for the evacuation of interpreters who helped the US over the course of the nearly 20-year war, but failed to receive the documents when the defence contractor he worked for lost the relevant records, the WSJ said.
He and his family are among the countless Afghan allies left behind when the US completed its almost 20-year military campaign in Afghanistan on 30 August.
After a Wall Street Journal reporter read Mohammed's message to the White House, Jen Psaki thanked the man for his service and stressed the US remains committed to getting Afghan allies out of Afghanistan. "We will get you out", Psaki said.
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) August 31, 2021
US President Joe Biden has recalled the Afghanistan incident multiple times, especially during the 2008 presidential campaign as Barack Obama's running mate. "Come back to the area where my helicopter was forced down…in the middle of those mountains. I can tell you where they [al-Qaeda*] are".
According to The Wall Street Journal, the helicopter's emergency landing wasn't in an area that was Taliban-controlled, but it also wasn't friendly and safe. The day before the incident, the 82nd Airborne had killed almost two dozen Taliban militants in a fight about 10 miles away from the site, a soldier who fought there at the time was quoted by the WSJ as saying.
Washington provided Afghan security forces with $28 billion in weaponry between 2002 and 2017, with virtually all of this equipment now feared to have fallen into the Taliban's hands. On top of that, there are concerns that hundreds of military biometric devices, abandoned in US bases, will help the group track down and target former security officials and government supporters.
On 30 August, US Army Major General Chris Donahue, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, stepped on a C-17 transport plane as the last US service member to leave Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul.
*The Taliban and al-Qaeda are terrorist organisations banned in Russia and many other states.