Hello, I'm a retired Afghanistan veteran currently living in Colorado who has been working diligently to help rescue the family of my interpreter who are currently in hiding in Kabul. Sadly, with the removal of U.S. Forces from the airport it has become increasingly difficult to accomplish this goal. If you support Veteran's then please consider this cause. Many of us are at a loss and feeling overwhelmed by leaving our brothers in arms and their families at risk of capture and execution in Afghanistan.
This fund is being set up to help the family escape from Kabul. Since this funds creation we have started a non-profit organization; Afghan Promise (www.afghanpromise.org
) licensed in Colorado, has a IRS tax identification number and currently working with other charities and non-profit organizations working towards the same goal. We have been able to provide safe houses, food and medical treatment to those at risk Afghans while we continue to work to evacuate as many as possible. In concert with the other organizations we have partnered with the chance of flights out of Afghanistan have increased with the support of a 3rd party Nation willing to accept the evacuees until paperwork can be processed for those at risk Afghans to find a permanent location to reside.
We hope you can help support our cause. The cost of resettlement to the 3rd party Nation, included flight costs is approximately $3500 per person. If we can get 100 people to donate $35 then we can LITERALLY save a life. 700 donations saves MY interpreters entire family!! We made promises to those Afghans who fought side by side with US / NATO military forces that they and their families would be safe and protected. Veteran's alone seem to be working to keep our Government's promise. Please donate what you can and do spread the word about this fundraiser and our non-profit. If we collect more than our stated amount we will fund other at risk Afghans evacuation.
The family consists of 5 adults and 2 small children. They are currently in hiding. We had gotten them the correct documentation to gain access to the airport and be evacuated, however, they were in line when the explosion happened at the gate so were unable to gain entry. Shortly thereafter the U.S. withdrew and that hope of evacuation faded.
So now we have to try to work with those heroic veteran organizations currently working this issue directly in Afghanistan to help these families escape to freedom. We are asking for a portion of the cost of extraction to be covered by this GoFundMe and if we are fortunate enough to collect more then additional funds will go to the family's resettlement once they arrive in the United States.
(I will use only first letter of the names as the family is STILL in hiding and in danger, but have a complete set of their passports, NATO documents etc if needed to verify)
I was deployed to Afghanistan in 2008 supporting Headquarters International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) as a part of a NATO team. During this time I had the pleasure and good fortune to meet an intelligent, hard working young man named "W". When I met him, he was providing laundry services but since he spoke multiple languages he transitioned to work as our interpreter. It was his goal to help build a better Afghanistan.
He continued in this position for more than 5 years after I departed Afghanistan until approximately 2014. At that time we worked to have him evacuated from the country due to direct threats against him and his family. After lots of effort and time, we were able to get him to Sweden where he remains to this day. Before he left Afghanistan his younger brother "M" started working for NATO at the International Airport. He had to make a gut wrenching decision on whether to leave when given the opportunity during our withdrawal or return to his family. His family encouraged him to leave as he worked directly for the NATO forces so was in more immediate danger.
Where we are now:
"W" and "M" are safe. "W" continues to live in Sweden (the U.S. stated he had to return to Kabul to complete his U.S. Visa request which was impossible for him to do) and "M" was evacuated to Qatar and then to the U.S. at an Army post in Indiana awaiting his clearance to settle full time stateside. In approximately 6 to 8 weeks we will be providing him housing until he can get settled in and hopefully get the rest of the family here as well.
The rest of the family is now trying to decide to continue hiding and hope for flights out to begin again or make a literal run for the border. Both are dangerous but the border run is EXTREMELY so. Both options require a VISA from the country they will be entering (one part of the $3500 expense per person) before they can make a move.
As a veteran I am deeply saddened by the events surrounding our departure from Afghanistan. It was not the politicians who looked these brave men and women in the eye and told them we had their backs. They did not stand side by side and endure the dangers of combat. It was the veteran who formed the brotherly bond and it appears it is the veteran who must keep our Nation's word to support not only those we worked with but their families as well.
Please take a moment to consider this request for a donation. 100% of the earnings will go to extract and support this family. If each person could donate a simple $10 (or what ever you can afford) then forward this request to 10 other people we should be to generate the funds needed. I know there are other great organizations asking for similar funds and they are doing great work to make these evacuations happen. They do not always cover the individuals cost for things like VISA's etc. It is left to each of us to fund our connected families. So please give what you can.
The funds will either be directly sent to the family to obtain travel documents, sent to an approved agency to grant travel (such as Ark Salus) and/or will be used to help purchase housing, clothing and food once the family leaves Afghanistan.
If GoFundMe or any other credible organization would like a verification of what I have stated I do have the passports, NATO evacuation documents and contact info for "W" and "M" I can provide. For organizations who are on the ground and want to help directly I do have phone numbers for the family as well.
I deeply appreciate the time and attention you paid by reading this far. Again, any little bit helps and it helps even more if you can forward this request to others. Please help me do right by the family I gained while serving in Afghanistan.