An Afghan native who came to the U.S. as a refugee days before the 9/11 attacks and later served as a U.S. soldier told Fox News this week he illegally crossed into Afghanistan from Pakistan about a month ago to rescue at-risk individuals and family members.
The unnamed former soldier — who spoke on condition of anonymity — said he has rescued at least 30 people from Afghanistan, including Christians and other religious minorities stuck in the midst of the Taliban’s reemergence.
He described himself to Fox as a “proud American soldier” who fought in Afghanistan before leaving due to injuries.
“They say on the news there is no U.S. soldier in Afghanistan. But I’m here, and I’ll help as long as it takes,” he said. “I’m a proud American soldier. I’ve taken an oath, and I’ll never forget that oath.”
Some of the man’s family members in Afghanistan have faced retribution over the years due to his American military service. Those fears have intensified in the wake of the Taliban’s revival. Despite pleading for help from the U.S. government to keep them safe, he reportedly received no assistance.
In an initial interview with Fox, he said he hadn’t gotten his family members out but had rescued others in need; after the interview, though, he reportedly did successfully rescue his relatives, but challenges remain.
The family is in an unnamed country and could be returned to Afghanistan if they don’t find a permanent solution within 28 days.
The ex-soldier has also faced his own set of troubles, telling the outlet that he was at one point “lashed” by the Taliban after militants caught him.
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“Had they known that I had actually just helped a Catholic family get out, it would have been worse,” he said. “Far worse.”
The Taliban continue their intense crackdown inside Afghanistan, with reports that they are only allowing some girls to return to school, among other restrictions.
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