As we watched Afghanistan fall to the Taliban in mid-August, and through the time we surrendered on August 30, we were astonished at the ineptitude displayed by the Biden administration in every facet of the operation, but we weren’t astonished that we were being lied to. We all knew when White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki continually insisted that every American who wanted to get out of Afghanistan had been evacuated that she wasn’t telling the truth. We knew that the administration’s promise to get those Afghans who worked with us during 20 years of war out of the country was worth nothing. We just didn’t know how bad the truth was.
Now the truth is starting to come to light, and it shows that it wasn’t just Biden who had a lackadaisical attitude about leaving Americans and trusted Afghan allies – to whom we’d made sacred promises – behind. Some of the top military officers, such as Gen. Milley and Gen. McKenzie were ok with people being turned away at the gate, leaving them on the runway.
We reported that at least 50 persons, Afghan and American, had been left at Kabul’s airport during the final hours of Afghanistan withdrawal. This allowed Maj. Gen. Chris Donahue to load the Taliban Toyota Hilux equipped with an anti-aircraft gunner on the rear onto the plane as a war prize.
Donahue claims that the Hilux is not a war trophy and that no “personnel” were left behind in order to accommodate it, but the claim doesn’t hold water.
One of the people left behind in Kabul was “Mohammed,” a translator who was working with the 82nd Airborne in 2008 when he helped rescue Biden, John Kerry, and Chuck Hagel after their helicopter made an emergency landing in the mountains near Bagram Air Field during a snowstorm. Mohammed, who’d stood guard for 30 hours during that snowstorm to ensure Biden’s safety, wasn’t able to get his family through the gates at Hamid Karzai International Airport in those last harried days of the United States’ withdrawal. Mohammed, who was likely watching Donahue load the Taliban-hunk onto his C-17 at the time, sent Biden a message via the Wall Street Journal on the last day.
“Hello, Mr. President: Save me and my family. Don’t forget me here.”
Forget, he did. Through his press secretary, he gave lip service to Mohammed, sending another hollow promise that he’d definitely get him out. However, Mohammed’s family was able to flee Afghanistan last week, thanks to Donahue and McKenzie and Milley.
Fortunately, Politico is now reporting that Secretary of State Antony Blinken has ordered multiple investigations into his department’s operations during the Afghanistan withdrawal, noting “the elevated interest in this work by Congress.” Among the areas to be reviewed:
[T]he State Department’s Special Immigrant Visa program; Afghans processed for refugee admission into the U.S.; resettlement of those refugees and visa recipients; and the emergency evacuation of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul “to include evacuation of U.S. citizens and Afghan nationals.”
The Department of Defense is conducting its own investigations in similar areas. According to multiple military, diplomatic, and intelligence community sources who spoke to RedState on condition of anonymity in order to speak freely, there’s a bit of a blame game going on between the State Department and the Department of Defense over who botched the withdrawal, so the outcome of those investigations – and any potential congressional hearings – will be interesting.
However, active-duty troops and military veterans who served in the first Gulf War and Afghanistan are upset at the decision to leave behind Americans and others like Mohammed who risked their lives for our soldiers’ safety and success. One veteran who served in the first Gulf War and in Afghanistan, and who participated in that 2008 rescue with Mohammed spoke exclusively to RedState about the withdrawal, about that “rescue” in February 2008, and about Mohammed, who we now know as Aman Khalili. Even though his past experiences are more recent than a decade, he felt still very emotional while sharing them with me. It’s important to hear these stories of individuals translators, knowing that there are thousands of men like him who believed in what America stood for and were willing, just like the men and women of our Armed Forces, to die for it.
We honor the request of this veteran that we not use his name in this article, as he still has relatives on active duty.
“In leaving both Americans and Afghans who helped us, like Mohammed, behind, Biden and the guys in charge went against over 200 years of military mindset and honor. We don’t leave anyone behind. If you look throughout Marine Corps and Army history you’ll find where four or five soldiers or Marines died to save one. They were to be protected, we promised them. We have to keep those promises, because if they don’t have confidence that they won’t be left behind, how do you get a guy to stay in a war zone?
“And, we knew that the Afghan Army wouldn’t stand once we left. We can’t believe that we will be able to build the Afghan Army in twenty years, when it took 40 years to go from a Lieutenant to a General. And knowing that it wouldn’t stand, how could we leave without a plan to get everyone out?
“In Afghanistan, every interpreter was afraid for their life. They were still whacking interpreters back in 2008. So for him to be an interpreter, it’s like you’re putting yourself out there on Main Street for everybody to see you. The faces of interpreters are often covered up when they leave the gate. In 2007 and 2008, it was well-known that Afghan Army soldiers or Afghan police men could be hostile to you. If you ventured outside the wire you wanted an interpreter who you could trust.
“Mohammed was a trusted interpreter. As a young guy he’d been a fighter against the Russians, so he had a vested interest in Afghanistan’s future. We knew all of the interpreters and their reputations, and one reason we took Mohammed with us that night was the fact that we knew he wouldn’t turn on us.
“For example, interpreters weren’t allowed to carry a weapon. It got ugly, and I had to take my pistol and give it to him. We were working together with 7ThTo obtain an HVT (high-value target) group. Our mission was to be the outer cordon. For special operations units, their biggest fear is being surrounded once they’re on a target, so our goal was to set up a blocking force, to go down the road and make sure nobody comes up. They told us, ‘No matter what, don’t stop.’ Well, the truck behind us ran off the road but we never stopped. The roadblock needed to be moved. We threw up the roadblock, but now the trucks we’re supposed to have with us weren’t with us anymore. This was our first night in the real world. I pulled out my pistol to give it to him. I told him, ‘You get stupid and I’ll shoot you’ Of course, he didn’t [get stupid].
“On the night of the rescue, the 82http://nd.Airborne was in charge of the AO, or area of operation. My unit was the QRF (quick reaction force) for the Bagram area. The QRF got a call that a helicopter with a VIP has had to make an emergency landing in the mountains in an area that’s known as Afghanistan’s equivalent to the Ho Chi Minh trail, a big area where weapons, ammunition, and the Taliban flowed through. The Taliban knew they would be there soon, and so it was a race to get them.
“So, we loaded up into our pre-staged vehicles and grabbed a few interpreters, including Mohammed, and then two or three up-armored Toyotas joined us. I didn’t know who they were, but I knew that those Toyotas would bring the VIPs down.
“I’ve seen some questioning why Special Forces or Delta or SEALs and those guys weren’t called in for such high-level VIPs. Well, that’s because it wasn’t in their area of operation. It was the number 82http://nd. Airborne’s AO, and they already had a QRF in place.
“It was snowing when we left Bagram, and we were probably looking at a 20, 25-mile trip one way. At 7000 feet, we were likely climbing to around 10 or 11,000ft. The snow got deeper as we climbed into the mountains. It was now knee-deep. Bill McClain (the squad leader) was in charge of the vehicle. This was the real hero for that portion of the mission. It started snowing so hard that it got to the point where you couldn’t see the road anymore. Stopping wasn’t an option, but on this road driving off the road was driving off of a cliff. Straight down it ran to the edge. McClain, a man with blindness who was able to find his way around the road, knew exactly where he was headed. So he started to walk the trucks up, walking alongside us so we wouldn’t drive off the road.
“We got up the hill and after securing the area and making sure the VIPs were going to be safe, we got them loaded up in the up-armored Toyotas to get to them to the base. One portion of the platoon helped to escort the VIPs and up-armored Toyotas down the hill. The rest of the platoon continued with the helicopters up until it cleared up and pilots were able to get their helicopters.
“To show you how little Kerry knew about how things work, when we’d laid out the chains to put on the tires to make the trip down the hill, he kicked them out of the way as he walked by. We had to put them again.
“The military doesn’t care that the military left. The military is concerned about leaving people behind. It’s not in the military’s nature. The Woke generals have violated an oath that’s been in place for nearly 200 years. That’s why many veterans are coming apart, because how do you square this with our military tradition? You can’t. Biden made a deal to escape with the Taliban, according to me. What is the problem?
“For those involved in the withdrawal, it had to have been heart-wrenching to know that you’re leaving your people behind because it goes against everything we’ve been taught.”