An Afghan interpreter, who helped rescue then-Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) and two other senators in 2008 after their helicopter was forced to land in a snowstorm, is now pleading for President Biden to rescue him and his family from Afghanistan.
The man spoke with The Wall Street Journal as U.S. forces pulled out of the country on Monday and asked that only his first name, Mohammed, be used as he and his wife and four children are in hiding from the Taliban.
“Hello Mr. President: Save me and my family,” Mohammed said. “Don’t forget me here.”
The Journal reported that he has attempted to get out of the country for years but that the process had become bogged down in bureaucracy. He said that he is now one of the Afghan allies that the Biden administration “left behind when the U.S. ended its 20-year military campaign.”
The Journal reported:
Mohammed was a 36-year-old interpreter for the U.S. Army in 2008 when two U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopters made an emergency landing in Afghanistan during a blinding snowstorm, according to Army veterans who worked with him at the time. On board were three U.S. senators: Mr. Biden (D., Del.), John Kerry (D., Mass.) and Chuck Hagel (R., Neb.).
As a private security team with the former firm Blackwater and U.S. Army soldiers monitored for any nearby Taliban fighters, the crew sent out an urgent call for help. At Bagram Air Field, Mohammed jumped in a Humvee with a Quick Reaction Force from the Arizona National Guard working with the 82nd Airborne Division and drove hours into the nearby mountains to rescue them, said Brian Genthe, then serving as a staff sergeant in the Arizona National Guard who brought Mohammed along on the rescue mission.
The report said that U.S. forces trusted Mohammed so much and that he was with them so often during fights against enemy forces that they at times gave him a weapon to use.
Lt. Col. Andrew R. Till urged that Mohammed be given an application for a Special Immigrant Visa earlier this year, writing, “His selfless service to our military men and women is just the kind of service I wish more Americans displayed.”
“Mohammed’s visa application became stuck after the defense contractor he worked for lost the records he needed for his application,” the report added. “Then the Taliban seized Kabul on Aug. 15. Like thousands of others, Mohammed said he tried his luck by going to the Kabul airport gates, where he was rebuffed by U.S. forces. Mohammed could get in, they told him, but not his wife or their children.”
The report documented other support that Mohammed has received from veterans, who say that if the U.S. could only help one Afghan that it should be Mohammed because “he earned it.”
The report noted that Biden spoke about the incident while on the 2008 presidential campaign trail, suggesting that he knew where “al Qaeda lives” because of where he was forced to land in the mountains during the snowstorm.
The area where the helicopter landed was reportedly not fully controlled by the Taliban at the time, but U.S. forces had killed approximately two dozen Taliban fighters just several miles away the day before.
Mohammed helped stand guard by the helicopters and used a bullhorn to get locals to leave the area if they got too close. Mohammed, along with the U.S. troops, stayed there for a day and a half until the weather cleared enough that the helicopters could leave the area.
The report concluded with a quote from Mohammed, who is now trapped in a country controlled by the Taliban, “I can’t leave my house. I’m very scared.”