A permanent resident of the United States and former combat interpreter who worked with the U.S. military in Afghanistan says he and his family are trapped in Afghanistan. Now that the country is dominated by the oppressive Taliban regime, he doesn’t believe he’ll be able to safely escape the country.
The man, a resident of Arizona, told Fox News that he is now in hiding in Afghanistan because the Biden administration didn’t have a “clear evacuation plan.” The 31-year-old also revealed that he is not alone in being an American resident stranded in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.
“There are a lot of people still left behind. My friends, I know them, they are stuck here. Four of them are American citizens. Two from Arizona and two from California,” the man said.
The man, who is only identified by his first name “Zekria” for his protection, slammed the Biden administration for its botched evacuation plan.
“The Biden administration left without any plan, and that is why there are thousands of allies who worked for the U.S. military, American citizens, Afghan Americans, all stuck here,” he explained.
He added that the Afghans who did escape the country were likely “beggars displaced from other provinces,” and probably “not qualified” members of the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa program.
“There are a lot of people like me,” Zekria said. “We are the ones who are qualified. We put ourselves and our families in danger, and they took people that don’t even have documents.”
“It was impossible to get into the airport,” he said, adding that his brother “got beaten by the Taliban” when attempting to access the Kabul airport. He said the Taliban was demanding $600 to get past checkpoints near the Hamid Karzai International Airport.
Zekria served as an officer in the Afghan Army, then worked with the U.S. military from 2011 to 2015 as a linguist combat interpreter. He reportedly received a green card and legal residence in the U.S. in return for his service. He provided Fox News with documents supporting his claims and dozens of emails he wrote to the State Department and U.S. embassies.
He attempted to evacuate Afghanistan in July, but was allegedly provided no assistance from the State Department, who told him “only help citizens – not green card holders” were being helped out of the country. He claimed that he filled out repatriation forms and other necessary documents nearly 40 times, but was never approved.
“I don’t know how this process is working but there is something that is not right,” Zekria said. “I pay taxes. The worst thing is my rent and car payment is due in a week and I am scared to get eviction in Arizona while I am here.”
Zekria believes he missed the opportunity to escape, “To be honest, I don’t believe I’m getting out safe.”
Zekria is currently living in a house with his wife, three brothers, four sisters, his parents, and his uncle in Kabul. He acknowledged that if the Taliban finds out that he helped the Americans then he and his family could be in grave danger.
“There is no safety for anyone – especially for interpreters and the ones who worked with Americans, their families, plus all of the military and the Afghan military – they just arrest whoever worked for the government,” he said. “This is why I was scared, and why I came to Afghanistan, to do something, at least, to save my family, but it didn’t happen, and now I got stuck here, too.”
“There is curfew at 10 p.m. and the Taliban, every night, is getting into houses. They are beating people. I am witnessing it,” Zekria said.
He noted that Taliban militants are “searching people’s phones and pockets.”
“No one can get out of the country. You cannot get out. It is like a prison,” he said. “The Taliban are finding any possible way to keep people inside and not let anyone leave the country.”