EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The world is watching as the U.S. Department of Defense works to quickly evacuate tens of thousands of people from Afghanistan following the fall of democracy to the Taliban.
On Monday, Major General Hank Taylor with the DOD gave an update on the evacuations, including the number of arrivals expected on Monday.
“The total passenger count for those flights is approximately 16,000,” Taylor said.
KTSM 9 News spoke exclusively with a man in Afghanistan, identified as Khan — for his safety– who has worked with U.S. companies as a health inspector for American contractors for more than a decade and is being persecuted for it.
Khan says that he moved to Kabul a few years ago for safety after receiving threats. He was called an infidel, he added. An infidel is defined as someone who does not believe in a specific religion or who adheres to a religion other than one’s own.
“But I said no, that I was working for the rehabilitation of Afghanistan,” he tells KTSM via phone from an undisclosed location in Kabul.
On Friday, Khan and his family arrived at the airport in Kabul before 8am with no plans of going back to their apartment.
There was a crush of people at the airport that eventually led to the airport being closed-off before the family could gain access inside, despite all of their paperwork being in order.
All the family needs is to be put on an airplane.
“I went there with the hopes of being evacuated,” he sobbed.
Khan wept on the phone while recalling the sequence of events.
“There were Taliban,” he says. “They were looking directly down on us, and they were just abusing us verbally and physically,” he continued.
He says members of the Taliban were striking people with PVC pipes and that he and his family were luckily able to return to the apartment they never thought they’d see again while they wait for information regarding if and when they can evacuate.
The situation for Khan and his family is dire since the family was identified on Friday.
Our call was interrupted for a few moments as a loud buzzing took place overhead. Khan was unsure whether is was American or Taliban noise, luckily this time it was the former.
“You hear that? That’s some of the F-16s from the U.S. Army, they’re trying to protect us,” said Khan.
Despite protection from the U.S. Army by air, there remains very real threats on the ground as the Taliban continues to make threats to Khan and his family.
“They call us ‘infidels’ and accuse us of working with Americans,” said Khan.
“And they ask: What do you think? Will you go from this country?”
“Then,” says Khan, “they tell me the answer is ‘no’ and ‘never.’”