Afghan allies trapped behind Taliban lines turn to prayers and unofficial channels as August 31 deadline approaches

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Chaos, confusion and terror have marked the Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan over the past week, with Americans and their Afghan allies calling for help to escape Taliban-controlled Kabul and uncertainty from the city’s US-owned airport.

And with special immigrant visa applicants prevented from escaping through Taliban checkpoints, the retired Marine Corps Sgt. Ryan Rogers told Fox News on Tuesday that non-governmental organizations were working through unofficial channels to try to help.

“Everyone is furious that this is even necessary,” he said. “But if the president doesn’t want to step in and lead, someone else will.”

Rogers last week helped raise the alarm that his former Afghan interpreter under contract with the United States was trapped in Kabul, in hiding from the Taliban and hoping to get out of the country.

In this file photo from August 19, 2021, Taliban fighters patrol Kabul, Afghanistan.  Following the Taliban takeover, collapsed government workers, civil society activists and women are among the Afghans at risk who have gone into hiding or remain on the streets.  (AP Photo / Rahmat Gul, file)
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In this file photo from August 19, 2021, Taliban fighters patrol Kabul, Afghanistan. After the Taliban takeover, collapsed government workers, civil society activists and women are among the Afghans at risk who have gone into hiding or remain on the streets. (AP Photo / Rahmat Gul, file)

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He was still there on Tuesday, but Rogers said he was now in contact with non-government sources who heard of his plight and contacted the retired Navy to try to coordinate an escape.

“It’s embarrassing internationally that we’re even in this situation,” Rogers said. “It’s insulting not even to have a certain number of Americans out.”

The Pentagon said on Tuesday it had evacuated around 4,000 U.S. passport holders and their families and expected to carry more in the coming days. But it’s unclear how many Americans are still in the country – and there are tens of thousands of SIV seekers and refugees the Taliban don’t seem inclined to let go.

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“During a meeting this morning with the leaders of the G-7, the president indicated that our mission in Kabul would end depending on the achievement of our objectives,” White House press secretary Jen said. Psaki at a press briefing in the afternoon. “He confirmed that we are currently on track to finish on August 31 and provided an update on the progress made in the evacuation of Americans who want to return home, third country nationals and Afghans who were our allies. during the war.”

He also clarified that with each day of operations on the ground, we have added risks to our troops with increasing threats from ISIS-K, and that the completion of the mission by August 31 depends on continued coordination with the Taliban, including continued access for evacuees to the airport, “she added.” In addition, the president asked the Pentagon and the State Department contingency plans to adjust the schedule if necessary. “

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that after August 31, the Taliban “will not let Afghans out” of the country on evacuation flights. And he said the Taliban already does not allow Afghan nationals to pass through checkpoints en route to the US-held airport.

Although the Taliban have claimed they are offering an “amnesty” to Afghans who have worked with US and NATO forces over the past 20 years of war, sources in Kabul told Fox News the militants were doing so. door-to-door, looking for senior Afghan officials, interpreters and foreigners, killing them or dragging them to unknown locations.

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Last week, Rogers’ interpreter said three former Afghan National Army officers were found in hiding, captured and hanged. And another former UK military contractor told Fox News on Saturday that two of his Afghan colleagues were killed within two days.

Rogers shared an SMS exchange on Tuesday summarizing the situation:

“Pray for good days,” the interpreter wrote.

A few lines later, Rogers answered with a prayer.

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“Lord, I pray a blessing of grace and guidance for all who are stuck in the great conflict,” he wrote. “Please watch over your flock and lead the way for Americans and friends like [name withheld for safety concerns] behind enemy lines. Amen.”

The interpreter, who has not been identified due to concerns for his safety, was still in hiding in Kabul on Tuesday.

But he warned Rogers in another post, “They’re still looking for us and government officials. “

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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