‘I’m Trying to Get My Family out of Here’: American Describes Being Stranded in Afghanistan

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news, including politics and court cases. He started at The Epoch Times as a New York City metro reporter.
August 18, 2021 Updated: August 18, 2021

An American stranded in Afghanistan says he is having trouble making it to the Kabul airport, the last vestige of U.S. presence in the city.

“No one wants to say, ‘Hey, I’m an American, let me go in,'” Haroon, the American, said on “Fox & Friends.”

U.S. troops control the Hamid Karzai International Airport, but Taliban terrorists are patrolling outside the airport’s gates.

U.S. officials are coordinating with the Taliban and the terror group is checking people’s credentials, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters in Washington on Wednesday. “If they have them, they have allowed them to pass,” he alleged.

Some people aren’t being allowed to pass, though.

Haroon said he scouted the area to see if he and his relatives could make it to a gate but determined it wasn’t possible, citing the young age of some of his siblings, even as the danger from staying in the country grows by the day.

“How are we going to make it through thousands of people?” he wondered, referring to the crowds outside the airport.

U.S. military officials have pegged Aug. 31 as the final withdrawal date. The Taliban has told the United States to fully withdraw by Sept. 11.

“We all know what’s going to happen next few days or next couple weeks after Americans leave Afghanistan. So everyone is scared,” Haroon said. “Our safety’s already at risk. We don’t have safety anymore. I’m trying to get my family out of here,” he said.

Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul
People wait outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug. 17, 2021. (Stringer/Reuters)

U.S. troops on Wednesday fired shots into the air. A U.S. official described the shots as a crowd control effort. Taliban militants, outside the facility, fired into the air as well.

U.S. officials have said the current mission does not include helping Americans reach the airport safely, though Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Gen. Mark Milley told reporters that the mission includes evacuating all Americans who want to leave the country.

Members of Congress have urged Americans to get in touch if they need help evacuating from Afghanistan, including Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.).

“I am getting lots of inquiries from people in Afghanistan or people who know those trying to get to safety. I am compiling names to try and push for evacuation. I cannot promise anything but will do everything I can,” Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.) said on Twitter on Monday.

Administration officials claim that some Americans refused to exit the country when told to do so weeks ago.

“We communicated with American citizens for weeks, telling them to get out of the country. We offered financial assistance for those who wouldn’t be able to afford to get on flights themselves. Many chose to stay right until the end, and that was their choice. We now are faced with a circumstance where we have to help evacuate those. That’s our responsibility as the U.S. government,” U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters on Tuesday.

While Americans and other foreigners try to get to the airport by braving Taliban checkpoints, Afghans are attempting to secure special visas to get them to other countries, including the United States.

The U.S. military has made space for approximately 22,000 Afghan evacuees at a handful of bases in the United States. Other countries, such as the United Kingdom, have also committed to taking some fleeing Afghans.

Haroon arrived in the country in June to help care for a sick relative and is seeking visas for some family members. He urged U.S. President Joe Biden to help families who helped the United States during the two-decade war in Afghanistan.

“They help you and they help America, they help the world. They put their life at risk to help the world, to do the right thing. This is what my family did,” he said.

“All those people that are right behind the airport, 80 percent of them, they have paperwork that proves they did work with America. And now the Taliban are right there. We need immediate help. Mr. Biden, please help all these Afghans who did support you, who helped you. These people deserve this, and I needed to do this for them,” he added.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news, including politics and court cases. He started at The Epoch Times as a New York City metro reporter.