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The Afghan interpreter who helped recover then-senator Joe Biden from the mountains of Afghanistan in 2008 was left behind after the US pulled out of Kabul, and is now reportedly asking the White House to be rescued.

“Hello Mr. President: Save me and my family” the Wall Street Journal cited the man, whose name was only given as Mohammed, in an exclusive report on Tuesday. “Don’t forget me here.”

Now 36, Mohammed was the interpreter of the 82nd Airborne Force deployed from Bagram Airfield to rescue Biden and his colleagues John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) and Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska) in February 2008, when their helicopter made an emergency. landing in Afghanistan during a severe snowstorm.

He had applied for a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV), the evacuation program for interpreters who assisted the United States during the 20-year conflict, but got stuck when the contractor he worked for lost the relevant documents, the WSJ reported.

“His selfless service to our military men and women is exactly the kind of service I wish more Americans would display,” Lieutenant-Colonel Andrew Till had written in support of his request. “If you can only help an Afghan, choose [him], “ wrote Shawn O’Brien, an army veteran who had worked with Mohammed in 2008.

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None of this seemed to help when Mohammed drove to Hamid Karzai International Airport in mid-August, only to be told by US troops there that he could enter – but his wife and her children couldn’t, according to the Journal.

“I can’t leave my house” he told the newspaper on Tuesday, after the last US military planes left Kabul. “I am very scared.

When asked about Mohammed’s fate later in the day, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the administration’s message was to him, “thank you for the part you have played in helping a number of my favorite people.”

“We will get you out” in the “Diplomatic phase”, Psaki added, claiming that the administration “The commitment is sustainable”.

“Those who helped us will not be left behind” President Biden made a commitment on June 24. This was before the US-backed Afghan government collapsed completely and the Taliban took control of Kabul, leaving US troops surrounded at the airport.

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The White House boasted of having evacuated 122,000 people during the 2-week airlift. Of those, less than 6,000 were US citizens and the vast majority were Afghans seeking to escape the Taliban. A number of Americans have been left behind – the Biden administration won’t say exactly how many – and apparently also some Afghans who had been promised a rescue.

Biden has often referred to the 2008 incident to claim expertise in the war on terror. The helicopter carrying the Senate delegation landed in a valley about 20 miles southeast of Bagram, in an area that was not controlled by the Taliban at the time, but was uncomfortably close to a area where heavy fighting had taken place. The three rescued Senators went on to serve in the Obama administration – Kerry as Secretary of State, Hagel as Secretary of Defense, and Biden as Vice President.

The Biden administration decided to abandon Bagram early in the withdrawal process, acting on advice from the State Department and the Pentagon that it was more convenient to leave Kabul – a civilian airport in the middle of a densely populated urban area. populated.

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