Local veteran worries for friend stuck in Afghanistan amid attacks

Afghan refugees
Posted at 5:23 AM, Aug 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-27 07:28:55-04

As the chaos continues to evolve in and around the Kabul Airport, Metro Detroiters with loved ones on the ground are in agony this morning, desperate for answers.

It’s a worst-case scenario for these families whose loved ones are both desperate to flee Afghanistan amid the Taliban takeover and at the same time, fearful to go near the airport following yesterday’s attack.

"Look what just happened. U.S. service members were killed. Why wouldn't he think not to go back now? He's probably afraid to even try," a local veteran working to help his translator stuck in Kabul said.

Ben Wilson says his interpreter Ahmad who wasn’t at the airport yesterday in Kabul recently sent him this message: "Kabul is full of the Taliban. They are looking for translators. Help me. Help me please."

Yesterday’s attacks killed at least 13 U.S. service members, most of them marines, and more than 60 Afghans.

Wilson spent the day checking on friends, including Ahmad who applied for his visa five years ago but is still waiting. He’s now in hiding with his wife and daughter.

"We tell him somebody's coming but I feel like at this point we're just lying to him. We're just comforting him to his death," Wilson said.

Osama Siblani is a journalist based in Dearborn and the publisher of the Arab American News. Amid the chaos and yesterday’s tragedy, he says he's not surprised.

"I expected everything that's happening in Afghanistan. The way that we withdrawal from Afghanistan, it was a total uncalculated stupid way of withdrawal knowing who we're dealing with," he said.

In the meantime, U.S. President Joe Biden is promising that evacuations will continue.

"We will not be deterred by terrorists," President Biden said. "We will not let them stop our mission.”

Tuesday, August 31 is when the U.S. says it will completely pull its extra forces from the country.

Wilson is hopeful he can try to connect with Ahmad and arrange something before then.