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EXCLUSIVE: American father trapped in Afghanistan says U.S. government won't help him (Part 2)
U.S. evacuation flights stopped again by Taliban
THIS IS PART TWO OF AN EXCLUSIVE THREE-PART SERIES.
PART ONE IS HERE: American Snuck into Afghanistan to Save His Sisters
The American family man who went to Afghanistan in August to try to save his sisters from the Taliban is frustrated that his government won’t help him. The father of two young sons from Connecticut has run out of money.
He can’t get on the American evacuation flights because they were blocked by the Taliban again this week.
This article is not behind the paywall so people inside Afghanistan can easily read it. Thank you to my paid subscribers who fund this work.
“I want my life and freedom back,” Ali told me on Friday. “I miss my family. My two-year-old doesn't know me anymore. The six-year-old is asking, ‘When are you coming home?’ I am missing so much in their lives.”
As you read exclusively in my story from September, *Ali flew to a neighboring country and hid his U.S. passport at Taliban checkpoints to get to his sisters who live in Afghanistan. He has been trying to leave since Aug. 27 — before the U.S. withdrawal — but couldn’t get into Kabul airport.
U.S. GOVERNMENT DOESN’T HELP
Ali has tried and failed for five months to get a response from State on how to get home. He said they don’t email or call back.
I gave him false hope last week that the State Department would get him on evacuation flights. In my recent story U.S. pays for evacuation flights out of Afghanistan, I wrote this:
I was disappointed when I asked “Ali” whether he had been offered a seat on the evacuation flight in Jan., and he responded that no one even contacted him.
But now I am happy to report that the State Department told me that Ali is on the list to be manifested on an upcoming flight. Since there is such a backlog, we don’t know when he will be put on an evac flight.
“I have packed and unpacked my bag nearly 100 times. Hoping to get on that flight,” he told me a week ago. “I’m having problems supporting myself or my family. All my savings back home are finished.”
“Ali” has been disappointed by our government so many times. His wife and parents are in the U.S.
STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIALS
After I called on his behalf, State contacted him on Jan. 19 and said he will be manifested on an upcoming U.S.-funded evacuation flight. However, those flights from Doha were blocked again this week by the Taliban.
I asked a State Department official about the canceled flights.
“We continue to charter flights between Kabul and Qatar as the operational and security situations allow, and prioritized for free departure are AmCits, LPRs, SIV holders, or certain stage SIV applicants and their immediate families,” the official said.
The official pointed out that the most recent U.S. charter flight out of Kabul to Qatar on Jan. 26 was the first in almost 7 weeks “following a break in the dispute between Qatar and the Taliban.”
DESPERATE AMERICAN IN AFGHANISTAN
I told Ali about the stalemate.
“Why can't the U.S. government use other channels to evacuate us?” he asked. “Our government is sending aid to Afghan people here — great — but what about the American citizens and their families?” he asked.
Ali’s wife has been taking care of his sons since he left his job for this brave rescue attempt.
“I have been out of work, and I’m all done with my savings. My family back in the U.S. are struggling to pay the bills piled up at home,” he said. We don’t have enough money to survive here,” he told me. “
I’ve asked the State Department for humanitarian help for Ali and another American. The officials are working on solutions.
GIVING UP ON THE U.S. GOVERNMENT
Ali is disappointed that he continues to have to go through me to get an answer from his own government.
“I kind of give up with the State Department, they are so disorganized,” he said.
I told Ali that he is the bravest person I’ve ever known for going into Afghanistan to try to rescue his sisters — when everyone else was getting on flights to get away from the Taliban.
“I was feeling brave thinking my country, my people, and my government have my back,” he replied. “I didn't know I will be left alone.”
*Ali is not his real name. But I gave the State Department his name, phone number and passport information a month ago to evacuate him.
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