Afghans who worked with US terrified, fear their deaths await: US veteran

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A US Army Veteran Major who worked extensively alongside Afghans during her time there claimed that several of them told her they are terrified for their lives, and requested help.

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Speaking to US-based online news media National Public Radio (NPR), Kristen Rouse, likened the events that were transpiring in Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover to the sinking of the Titanic. She said that it brought the ship to mind because “only the crew are getting lifeboats”, adding that her friends who were “in the water about to die” were reaching out to her and her colleagues on social media and by telephone to “beg” for lifeboats to save their lives too.

Back in 2020, Rouse expressed her optimism for the proposed Taliban-US peace deal and the future of the war-weary country to NPR. However, since the Taliban’s takeover on Sunday, she said that she had been talking to some of the Afghans who served alongside her, all of whom were terrified.

When asked about those who were awaiting their US visas to migrate, she said: “One interpreter, one of my interpreters, in particular, he’s been trying different things for really the last, the last decade. And I’ve been messaging with him for many years, trying to figure out other options, other ways to help him. And there’s just, there’s been just an endless series of dead ends, walls, attorneys telling me that they can’t do anything.”

“The Taliban are, they are, as I speak, going door to door to identify individuals who have worked at any time with the US. Yesterday, I got a final message saying, “I am about to die.” I mean, “If something bad happens to me, I will ... I will see you in heaven,” and I’m not the only veteran. I’ve spoken with other veterans who are getting goodbye messages like this. People believe they’re going to die,” she added.

Rouse also told NPR that she was “heartbroken” by the way that the Afghan military has been blamed for not protecting the country against the Taliban.

“I am just heartbroken that we are just blaming people who’ve had their lives on the line and have been sacrificing with us for years. And suffering. It’s unreal to me that we would suddenly walk away from intense partnerships, saying, well, “You couldn’t make it on your own. Too bad”,” she said.

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