A terrified American citizen who was an interpreter for the US military has said she is now stranded in Afghanistan — because no one told her the last flights were leaving Monday.
During his show on CNN on Monday, Chris Cuomo talked to one of these individuals — an American woman using the pseudonym of “Sara.”
Sara, a former interpreter for the military, said “I just found out that [the last US troops] left, and I was just silent for a while.”
“I just can’t believe no one told me that this is the last flight.”
Sara said she is now more terrified than during any of her missions helping the military over 14 years.
“They left us to whom? To those people who wanted to always kill us?
“This is my fear,” she told, “Cuomo Prime Time” of Taliban troops who have reportedly been going door-to-door seeking revenge on those who helped their opposition.
“It’s just heartbreaking … I still had hope that we would leave.”
She told Cuomo they made several attempts to leave, getting through Taliban checkpoints by pretending a man she was with was her husband and the “six kids” she had with her were part of her family and they were trying to go home.
They were “all on the streets going from gate to gate,” she said, adding that was the guidance the State Department gave her.
They were hit with tear gas as they approached the airport, Sara said.
When she messaged her contact who was supposed to let her in about the gassing, the person said, “They are putting the gas for you so you can get closer to the gate,” Sara told Cuomo.
When she reached the perimeter of the airport, she “started shouting, ‘Hey, I’m an American, please open the gate, I’m here to go home!’”
“They threw another gas and I was knocked out for like maybe 15 minutes,” she said.
All the children she was trying to save in the evacuation attempt were lost, she told Cuomo — and now she’s stuck in the country.
Watch it here: Youtube/CNN
“Am I safe? Now the question is my life. Am I safe? Are these people safe?” she said when asked about her biggest fear.
“I went to so many different missions with the military, so many different missions in different provinces. I never had that heartbeat as I have it today, this morning when they told me the Americans left. They left us to whom? To those people who were always wanting to kill us? And now, I am by myself here with 37 people.”
According to U.S. Central Command head Gen. Frank McKenzie, her fate is now in the hands of the State Department. As he told reporters Monday, “the military phase of this operation is ended, the diplomatic sequel to that we’ll now begin.
“I believe our Department of State is going to work very hard to allow any American citizens that were left, and we think the citizens that were not brought out, number in the low, very low hundreds, I believe that we’re going to be able to get those people out, I think we’re also going to negotiate very hard and very aggressively to get our other Afghan partners out,” the general said.
“The military phase is over, but our desire to bring these people out remains as intense as it was before. The weapons have just shifted, if you will, from the military realm to the diplomatic realm and the Department of State will now take the lead on that.”
Watch it here: Youtube/NBC News
When dealing with the Taliban — a military enemy of the United States for 20 years and a diplomatic enemy for longer than that — that weapons shift considerably disadvantages the United States. That’s especially true considering Sara was an interpreter for the military, a high-value target for a revenge-obsessed Taliban.
She said she doesn’t have any trust in the government’s ability to get her out. After all, why should she when Biden said this?
BIDEN ON 8/19: “If there are American citizens left, we’re going to stay until we get them all out.”
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) August 30, 2021
“I don’t know anymore what to believe,” Sara said. “I don’t believe anyone anymore.”
She also talked about her reaction when she found out the Americans had left.
“I just found out that they left and I was just silent for a little while,” Sara said. “And I just went, walked around the rooms, and I saw the young kids are sleeping and they have no clue what happened this morning, that the last flight is gone and we’re left behind.”
Don’t expect that to change anytime soon, no matter whether Secretary of State Antony Blinken leans on those “shifted” weapons of diplomacy.