An interpreter who helped rescue US President Joe Biden from an Afghan snowstorm years ago is in hiding from the Taliban after failing to catch a flight to escape Kabul.
In 2008, then-Senator Biden and two other lawmakers were visiting Afghanistan when a snowstorm forced the helicopter they were traveling in to land in a remote area, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.
The interpreter, whom the newspaper calls “Mohammed” to protect his identity, was often working for the US Army at the time, participating in combat missions.
Faced with the risk of Biden and the other two senators — Chuck Hagel and John Kerry — being attacked by the Taliban, Mohammed joined the military mission that departed Bagram air base to rescue them.
A veteran of the Vietnam War, Kerry was secretary of state under the Barack Obama administration and is currently the Biden administration’s special envoy for climate.
Then US Vice President Joe Biden (left), then US President Barack Obama and then US Secretary of State John Kerry in a 2015 photo — Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
Thirteen years later, Mohammed failed to process his US immigration application in time to be removed from the country after the Taliban returned to power.
“Hello, Mr. President: save me and my family,” Mohammed told the newspaper on Monday (30), the last day of the US-led civilian evacuation operation. “Don’t forget me here”.
The newspaper reports that Mohammed, his wife and their four children are in hiding, concerned about the repression of the Taliban now that they have taken power.
After the report was published, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the US will help him. “Our message to him is thank you for fighting alongside us for the past 20 years,” declared Psaki. “Let’s get him out of there. We’ll honor his service.”
A US military plane takes off from Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, this Monday (30), shortly before the deadline for withdrawing troops from the country. — Photo: AP Photo/Wali Sabawoon