Nearly two dozen U.S. citizens and legal U.S. residents met at a safe house in Kabul on Thursday evening to prepare for their long-awaited escape from Afghanistan, almost five months after the Pentagon announced that the last evacuation flight was off the ground in Kabul.
About 48 hours after meeting at the safe house, the group of 12 adults and 11 children landed safely at New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport following stops in the United Arab Emirates and Italy.The rescue was organized by Project Dynamo, a group of civilians and veterans who have dedicated themselves to helping U.S. citizens, allies, and legal residents flee the war-torn country.
“To rescue an American — you can’t put a value on it,” Bryan Stern, a combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient who co-founded Project Dynamo in late August, told Fox News Digital. “You just can’t.”
The group, which is funded by donations, has rescued 189 U.S. citizens and legal residents since the Biden administration’s deadline for evacuations passed on Aug. 31. They helped evacuate more than 2,000 people in mid to late August before that window lapsed.AFGHAN EVACUEES LEFT IN LIMBO HERE IN THE US
There were four Americans and 19 legal residents among last week’s group, and Stern said there’s no end in sight.“More and more trickle up every day,” Stern said. “I was a 9/11 first responder in the Army. I was in Afghanistan when Bin Laden was killed, and 20 years later, I’m still dealing with this problem.”
One of the evacuees was Naser Majroh, who was working as a private sector advisor at Camp Baron before the Taliban took over.
“We were able to make plans with the U.S. State Department, but were unable to get to our gate because so many people were trying to leave,” Majroh said through Project Dynamo. “The Taliban were hitting us, shooting into the air; my son’s arm was broken [by the Taliban] while I was presenting his U.S. passport, so we had to wait until he healed before we could leave Afghanistan.”
A State Department spokesperson told Fox News Digital that they have assisted 479 U.S. citizens and 450 legal residents in leaving Afghanistan since Aug. 31.
“We are working with a few dozen U.S. citizens and their families who have indicated they are prepared to depart Afghanistan and have the necessary travel documents to do so,” the spokesperson said.
“In addition to those prepared to depart, we’re in touch with approximately 150 other U.S. citizens who do not want to leave at this time or are not currently ready to depart.”
President Biden has stood by his much-criticized decision to pull all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan last summer, leading to the swift Taliban takeover.
“There was no way to get out of Afghanistan, after 20 years, easily,” Biden said last week. “Not possible no matter when you did it. And I make no apologies for what I did.”