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Story Publication logo February 19, 2024

‘My Family … Are Still Running From the Taliban’: Afghan Ally Says America Didn’t Make Good on Promises

Afghani soldiers in uniforms, allied to the U.S.

Now in the U.S., an Afghan war ally says America isn't keeping its promise.

Video courtesy of Gray Television.

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) — Osama Bin Laden introduced himself to most Americans during the 9/11 terrorist attack that targeted New York's World Trade Center and Washington, D.C. — killing nearly 3,000 people and starting a 20-year war in Afghanistan that cost the U.S. more than $2 trillion and the bloodshed of thousands of American soldiers.

President Biden ended that war in 2021, when he ordered the evacuation of all U.S. troops after the Taliban's capture of Kabul, Afghanistan's capital. He addressed the American people the next day to confirm the war was over.

“We completed one of the biggest airlifts in history, with more than 120,000 people evacuated to safety,” said President Biden. “For weeks, they risked their lives to get American citizens, Afghans who helped us, citizens of our Allies and partners, and others onboard planes and out of the country. And they did it facing a crush of enormous crowds seeking to leave the country. And they did it knowing ISIS-K terrorists — sworn enemies of the Taliban — were lurking in the midst of those crowds.”

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Thousands of American troops were reunited with their families and 28,000 Afghan war allies now called America home.

However, over 70,000 of those war allies couldn’t get out of Afghanistan — leaving them vulnerable to active terrorist groups like the Taliban, who immediately started seizing territory across Afghanistan.

“The disastrous withdraw from Afghanistan left Americans and our Afghan allies, along with millions of dollars in military equipment, behind — with no action,” said Representative Zach Nunn, a Republican from Iowa.

Video courtesy of Gray Television.

It has been said that in their hasty evacuation, American troops left behind intel that exposed who the war allies and their families were.

“My family … my tactical team — they are still running from the Taliban,” said Hassani. “Many there are being hunted by the Taliban.”

Hassani, who asked that I only use her first name, is one of the 28,000 allies who were able to escape Afghanistan. She says she was fighting for woman’s rights during the war.

“Woman cannot even go outside without [a] man in my country,” she said. “But fighting [for those rights is] something that put [my] family in danger. All I want[ed] was to fight for [the] rights of women in my country.”

In Afghanistan, women’s rights are limited, according to reporting from the Associated Press that refers to the country as one of “the most repressive” for women.

Hassani, one of the 28,000 allies who were able to escape Afghanistan, says she's worried about her family left behind. Video courtesy of Gray Television.

In Afghanistan, women are not allowed to be in public spaces without the company of a man, and if a woman is showing too much skin, her male family members could face jail time.

“That is my country — I love my county,” said Hassani. “But women deserve rights and [they have] none there. But now my fight put my family [in] danger. They cannot stay anywhere for longer than a few weeks — they are running from the Taliban and I haven’t heard [from my] team.”

Hassani said the Taliban shot at her and others who were in line trying to escape the country.

She wants Congress to hold up its end of the bargain and bring those allies to safety. But when asked, several legislators said their hands were tied.

Many members of Congress pointed to the Biden Administration and lack of support amongst other lawmakers, saying they are to blame for the 78,000 allies who were left behind in Afghanistan.

“People are being hunted down and tortured and killed and these are our brothers and sisters who fought with us,” said Representative Jason Crow, a Democrat from Colorado. “Many of us would not be here today if it hadn’t been for the service of our Afghan brothers and sisters.”

The Foreign Affairs Committee met to discuss a clear path forward. Many lawmakers asked Congress to get behind motions like the Afghan Adjustment Act.

“This bill — long overdue effort, ” said Representative Jeff Jackson, a Democrat from North Carolina. “This is about having the backs of the people who had ours when we were overseas. It’s not complicated and it’s not partisan and it should have been done a long time ago.”

The Afghan Adjustment Act not only welcomes allies like Hassani into the U.S., through humanitarian parole, but it also helps allies become permanent residents and eventually citizens of the U.S.

Senate negotiators recently drew up a $118 billion National Security Supplemental plan that included provisions to address this, but the 370-page plan includes border security measures that House Republicans say don't go far enough. So, the bill was shot down.

However, Hassani remains hopeful that America will bring war allies to safety.

“Please do not forget us,” said Hassani. “Yes, it’s true I’m here and have my own freedom. I go to work [and] school but my family and coworkers are still in danger. Please feel them — put yourself with them.”


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