Amid the disaster of our withdrawal from Afghanistan, there were some stories that ended happily. This is one of them.
One of my colleagues and his sister are friends with an Afghan family, a husband, wife and three young children. The father translated for our forces in that country. The family came to America some time ago as legal permanent residents, and the father has a Minnesota driver’s license. Several months ago, they learned that a grandmother, who lived in Kabul, was dying. Well before the Afghan collapse, the entire family booked flights to and from Kabul so that they could say goodbye to her.
The time came for them to return, and my friend’s sister met their flight at the Twin Cities airport. But they were not on it. As I understand it, they were told that, notwithstanding that they all had tickets, only one family member would be allowed on the aircraft. This was several weeks before the collapse of the Afghan military and government, but they were unable to get another flight, and when Kabul fell they were stuck there.
My colleague communicated with individuals on the ground in Kabul and more than once, arrangements were made for this family to go to a safe location where they could be picked up by Marines and brought to the airport. But for some reason, these arrangements misfired. Communications were, to put it mildly, difficult.
My colleague finally came to me and asked whether Senator Tom Cotton might be able to help. He had seen news to the effect that Cotton’s office had been able to help some people get out of Kabul. I said I would contact Senator Cotton. I did so, and one of his staffers called my colleague in a matter of minutes. He conveyed the necessary information including, I believe, photographs of the family.
I don’t know who did what or how it came about, but the next thing I learned, directly from Tom Cotton, was that the family was safe in Qatar. Shortly thereafter, my colleague showed me a picture they had texted him of themselves at the Qatar airport.
So some stories ended happily. Sadly, as a result of the grotesque ineptitude of the Biden administration, far too many did not. Our thanks to Senator Cotton and all those who contributed to saving this deserving family.