In August 2021 the Taliban completed their conquest of Afghanistan and entered the country’s capital – Kabul. At the same time the United States announced the start of a non-combatant evacuation operation (NEO) to be conducted at the Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA) in Kabul to evacuate AMCITS, LPRs, and Afghans at-risk. Thousands of desperate Afghans swamped the airport desperate to get a seat on one of the military aircraft departing Kabul for a ‘lily pad’ in the Middle East.
Many veterans who served with their Afghan partners formed volunteer organizations to assist former Afghan interpreters and others. Most of these volunteers, using text, phone, WhatsApp, or Signal guided their Afghan friends onto HKIA through one of the entry points swamped with masses of Afghans wanting to depart Afghanistan from their home offices, kitchen tables, during lunch breaks at work, or into the early morning hours. Some veterans flew to Kabul and worked at the airport entry points to bring in Afghans that served with them – as members of the Afghan military or as combat interpreters.
Six months later there are over 100 plus volunteer organizations dedicated to this ongoing effort. Some of them are focused on former members of Afghan special operations forces (SOF) who do not qualify for the Special Immigrant Visa program. The Moral Compass Federation, an umbrella organization of SOF focused Afghan Evac groups, is continuing the effort for the evacuation of Afghan SOF partners. Watch a video recounting the past and current efforts to bring the Afghans who served alongside U.S. special operations forces to safety.
The Air Force Veteran Fighting to Save Afghans From the Taliban, ReasonTV, March 17, 2022, 14 mins.
Moral Compass Federation