“His dedication to our mission at risk to his own life and the life of his family was complete and unwavering,” wrote retired U.S. Army Lt. Colonel Scott Coulson of “Sajed,” an Afghan interpreter who worked with the Security Forces Assistance Team Coulson commanded in Afghanistan’s Kunar province in 2012.
Sajed’s story is far from unfamiliar these days.
Now in his mid-thirties, he served for five years as an interpreter for U.S. forces, receiving high evaluations for his proficiency from a succession of American officers whose units relied upon his service.
Lt. Colonel Coulson, whom I met during a private sail in the Lesser Antilles last week, found Sajed “invaluable,” not only in translating but also in helping his command “understand local dynamics, advise us on effective approaches, pass along gossip and intel,” and generally “make our mission work.”
He also recounted one of many incidents in which Sajed placed his life on the line.
On August 8, 2012, a patrol of senior U.S. and Afghan personnel came under attack from militants who rushed them and detonated suicide vests. Although the attack could easily have continued with a second wave, Sajed stepped up to help coordinate security and evacuation support for the party’s wounded.
He then helped clear wreckage so that MRAP tactical vehicles and a Forward Surgical Team could arrive quickly.
Lt. Colonel Coulson has maintained contact with Sajed over Facebook Messenger in the years since, and was able to reach him as the Taliban ousted Afghanistan’s absurd and abandoned government.
Sajed had managed to make his way to Kabul airport, but without his wife and seven children or the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) for which he is more than qualified.
Through a rapid series of e-mails, I was able to get the matter before a member of Congress. By the end of the week, Sajed was reunited with his family, and all were airlifted to Bahrain, where they were speedily processed and approved for further travel to the United States.
On Tuesday night they arrived at Dulles airport, where as of this writing they are continuing their processing. Sajed’s wife and one of his daughters were hospitalized to receive treatment after their arduous journey but will recover well.
Lt. Colonel Coulson is working to coordinate aid and sponsorship, and any suggestions are welcome.
Sajed’s story has a happy ending thanks to a chance meeting of his commanding officer and a reasonably well connected Newsmax columnist in azure Caribbean waters. He and his family are the lucky ones.
Thousands of his Afghan colleagues – and over 10,000 Americans – remain in Afghanistan with no guarantee of any exit.
Access to Kabul’s beleaguered airport is increasingly restricted. Afghanistan’s new Taliban government has forbidden Afghan citizens to approach it, and many have been violently turned back. Opponents of the Taliban, including one of Sajed’s fellow interpreters, have already been executed, along with their family members.
Unlike virtually all other countries with people on the ground in Afghanistan, American forces are, with only a handful of apparent exceptions, not authorized to leave the Kabul airport to conduct rescue operations.
President Biden has announced with humiliating servility that he will obey a Taliban mandate to cease all evacuation operations by August 31, a timeframe no one believes will be sufficient to save those who now face certain death due to inaction that has already left blood on his senile hands.
Our loyal allies who risked all to assist our failed war in their country deserve better. So do we.
Paul du Quenoy is President of the Palm Beach Freedom Institute. He holds a Ph.D. in History from Georgetown University. Read more — Here.
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