The White House reacted recently to an Afghan interpreter’s plea for help who was involved in rescuing then-Sen. Joe Biden and two other senators during a 2008 snowstorm, emphasizing the president’s vow to employ diplomacy to help any remaining allies in Afghanistan who want to leave.
“We will get you out, we will honor your service, and we’re committed to doing exactly that,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday, Aug. 31, USA Today reported.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the interpreter, his wife, and four children are in hiding from the Taliban after a “years-long attempt” to flee Afghanistan became bogged down in bureaucracy. On Monday, Aug. 30, as the last troops left Afghanistan, Mohammed pleaded with Biden to save his family.
“Hello Mr. President: Save me and my family,” Mohammed told the Journal. “Don’t forget me here.”
According to the newspaper, then 36-years-old Mohammed rode with U.S. troops into blinding snow in search of two U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopters carrying Biden, then a senator from Delaware, and former Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.), and Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), that were forced to make emergency landings in a remote Afghanistan valley.
Mohammed, who was stationed at Bagram Air Field, replied to a plea for assistance by joining Army Humvees and three Blackwater SUVs searching for the missing helicopters. At the scene, Mohammed stood guard with Afghan Army personnel on one side of the chopper and used a blow horn to ward off onlookers.
On the rescue mission, Mohammed and the U.S. forces had stayed out in the cold for 30 hours before the U.S. military could get the helicopters back in the air and the men back to Bagram.
“First, our message to him is thank you for fighting by our side for the last 20 years,” Psaki said at a White House press briefing when asked for a response to Mohammed’s plea. “Thank you for the role you played in helping a number of my favorite people out of a snowstorm, and for all of the work you did.”
Psaki said the administration’s commitment is “enduring, not just to American citizens but to our Afghan partners who have fought by our side.”
Before Monday’s military exit, the Biden administration claims to have assisted in the evacuation of more than 123,000 individuals from Afghanistan, including 5,500 Americans. In a speech on Tuesday, Biden stated that the United States assisted in the evacuation of “thousands of Afghan translators and interpreters and others who supported the United States out as well.”
Biden stated that his government would “make arrangements” for surviving Americans to evacuate if they desired.
“As for the Afghans, we and our partners have airlifted 100,000 of them. No country in history has done more to airlift out the residents of another country that we have done. We will continue to work to help more people leave the country who are at risk. We’re far from done.”