As she detailed on social media how her team helped get 114 Afghan nationals out of Kabul and to safety, U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Holly, said that in all her years of working in war zones, there are few things of which she is more proud. Those Slotkin’s team helped evacuate include 70 affiliated with Michigan State University, and another 30+ who were former deputy ministers, staff and military officers of the former Afghan government who were being threatened and hunted by the Taliban.
The evacuation mission, Slotkin said, is fraught with danger: “Our entire nation grieves the loss of the 13 U.S. service members killed in the line of duty, helping others.”
Most of those evacuated with help from Slotkin’s team were flown to Albania.
“There are simply no words to convey the pain of running from your own country,” Slotkin said. “As a Congresswoman whose family, generations ago, left their home countries seeking a better life, I know that there’s no telling what these resilient people will do with this opportunity. In the hardest of moments, I feel I have seen the best of American ingenuity and grit.”
Slotkin said her staff worked around the clock to get these people to safety, connecting to what she said is a “broad and often ragtag network of people across the world who felt the fear of these Afghans and stepped up to help. Many had served in Afghanistan, and put their energy and frustrations into getting people out.”
Slotkin, a former top Pentagon official in the Obama administration, said the list of people to thank is “immense and spans the globe”: American and Australian military forces operating in the U.S., Afghanistan, Qatar, and Albania, who continue to bravely carry out th emission despite the serious risks; LTG (ret.) H.R. McMaster and his team, networks of current and former military who helped this group onto buses and safely enter the airport after 23 hours of anxious waiting outside the gates; and the NGO community — especially Vital Voices and Spirit of America Worldwide, which have supported and received this group of Afghan nationals at the airport in Tirana and is generously supporting their immediate needs as they seek to start their new lives.
“Along the way, individual members of the U.S. Army, Marines, and Air Force, as well as State Department foreign service officers, staff at Michigan State University, and friends from my prior work in the national security world stepped up when we were desperate, usually above and beyond any job description. U.S. Ambassador to Albania Yuri Kim, who I worked with many years ago, has been exceptional at helping us relocate these Afghan nationals to Albania on exceedingly short notice.”
Slotkin said that over the next few days, she and her team will continue to do their part of the hard work of safely evacuating as many Afghan national as possible.
“Not all will get out,” Slotkin said, “which is heartbreaking.”