FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – A Fresno veteran and his former Afghan interpreter are speaking out as the situation in Kabul grows more dire with tens of thousands of people scrambling to leave the country.
It’s been a chaotic scene at Kabul’s airport where more than 20,000 people desperately wait to be airlifted out, one week after the Taliban captured the capitol.
“We are so scared at this point. I mean my family they’re hiding,” said a man who wanted to be called John.
John was an interpreter in Afghanistan where Fresno native Corey Pierce was deployed in 2012.
“A lot of them really believed in what we were doing there. They really did and it’s really hard to see them being abandoned like this,” Pierce said.
John must hide his identity for safety reasons, and said although he’s now living in America he’s in contact with family fighting to get out of Kabul.
“They’re kidnapping people. People, they’re getting killed every day. People, they’re stealing the people as money and anything is happening right now. It is out of control,” he said.
President Joe Biden has been sharply criticized for his execution of the military withdrawal. On Sunday he said they’re focused on getting Americans and allies out and 28,000 had been evacuated since Aug 14, 11,000 of those from this weekend alone.
“The evacuation of thousands of people from Kabul is going to be hard and painful no matter when it started, when it began,” he said.
John said while working side-by-side with American troops, he and other allies were always ready to step up, and now they’re asking for the same.
“At this point what we want from the United States, we want to rescue those people from there, to bring them to a safe spot. The people that worked with the United States, they need to bring them home,” he said.
President Biden said he has not ruled out extending the August 31 deadline to withdraw troops, but said he’s still hopeful he won’t have to.
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