As the U.S. military and State Department hurry to evacuate American citizens and Afghan allies from Kabul’s airport, Taliban checkpoints shut many individuals off from freedom and safety—and reports on the ground suggest the terrorists are summarily murdering civilians who have assisted U.S. forces in the past.
According to Ryan Rogers, a retired Marine sergeant, the interpreter he worked with during the horrific 2010 assault of Marjah in Helmand province is today imprisoned in Kabul, unable to reach the airport while Taliban fighters hunt down and murder former Afghan commandos and interpreters.
“He told me yesterday they hung three [Afghan National Army] commanders that they had found,” he told Fox News Thursday, Aug. 19. “And that close to the place that he’s hiding, they’re going house-to-house and that they sent a transmission out saying they had plans for the people that operated with America.”
The interpreter, who cannot be identified due to safety concerns, was fine as of Thursday afternoon.
“I said, hey, did you see any of this stuff with your eyes? He said yes,” Rogers said. “They’re not showing this stuff because the people are cheering, but they’re scared to death, and they’re hanging these people. And he said they’re going house to house and their priorities are Afghan National Army Special Forces, the police special forces and the interpreters.”
On Thursday, the Biden administration finally acknowledged reports that evacuees were having difficulty getting to the international airport and Kabul encircled by Taliban checkpoints.
During a Thursday news briefing, State Department spokesman Ned Price said the department had received a “small handful of reports” of American travelers unable to enter the airport. However, he added that, while U.S. officials were aware of reports that Taliban forces were hunting down and killing interpreters and former Afghan military commanders, he couldn’t confirm their validity.
“I’m just not in a position to confirm those details,” he said. “Every time we see a detail like this, we take it extraordinarily seriously, and we do what we can.”
As Taliban troops stormed across the country over the last two weeks, there have been allegations of the terrorists executing surrendering Afghan soldiers. In addition, a video obtained by Fox News shows militants in pickup trucks blasting rounds in the streets of Kabul.
“In a bipartisan fashion, there’s extreme disappointment, especially by those that have served,” Rep. Brad Wenstrup, an Ohio Republican and Army Reserve officer, told Fox News. “And we have lost on this our moral standing in the world, and it’s a sign of weakness rather than strength.”
Wenstrup cited bipartisan legislation approved a few months ago to reduce the red tape that U.S. allies would face in securely leaving the nation as the American military withdrew. But thousands of people were left stranded as a result of the hasty withdrawal.
“I find it hard to believe that our military and intelligence community would have recommended it this way,” he said, faulting the Biden administration’s leadership. “But those are some of the questions that we need to have answered.”
Wenstrup, who served in the Army in Iraq, said he assisted several interpreters in their relocation. One of them, now an American citizen and a physician at Ohio State, described the situation in Afghanistan as “disheartening,” according to the lawmaker.
Despite the shambolic withdrawal of the U.S., Wenstrup had a message for soldiers of the War on Terror.
“We have not had another attack in 20 years,” he said. “We must praise all those that have sacrificed so much in the last 20 years because they did keep us safe, and they should be applauded for that.”
And so did their coalition partners.
“I hope and pray that that interpreter, we find a way to get them out,” Wenstrup said. “My experience is if we get them here, they do everything right to become good U.S. citizens.”
Thousands of additional troops were ordered to the airport this week to assist with the evacuations. Still, Pentagon officials stopped short of stating they would leave the base to rescue Americans or Afghan partners—despite the fact that UK paratroopers have been doing so to protect their own people.
As an alternative to deploying soldiers into Kabul, Fox News reported Thursday from a reliable source that the State Department is looking into non-military options to stage and move Americans and others in the city.
However, Rogers is concerned that his interpreter friend may only have a few hours left if things go wrong.
In response to President Joe Biden’s assertion in an ABC News interview that there was no way out of Afghanistan without “chaos ensuing,” Rogers claimed the government could have devised a plan to protect Americans and friends before the Taliban controlled Kabul.
“If somebody is going to help us for 20 years, and we’re going to make a bunch of promises to them, we need to fulfill those promises,” Rogers said. “And yesterday, it sounded like they weren’t going to go outside the airport. And that’s where a lot of those promises are hiding right now.”