I-TEAM: Local lawmakers continue efforts to help Afghan evacuees following Kabul attack

Published: Aug. 27, 2021 at 9:02 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Flags were at half-staff Friday in honor of 13 U.S. service members killed Thursday in the attack on the Kabul airport. The U.S. military has resumed evacuation flights out of Afghanistan. After Thursday’s suicide bombing, the White House says more than 12,000 people have been able to fly out in the last 24 hours.

Thirteen American troops died in the blast, and the Afghan civilian death toll could now be as high as 200. Still, thousands of people remain stuck in a dangerous situation. And as our I-Team reports, News 12 viewers are desperate to help those left behind.

For the past several days we’ve been collecting copies of passports and photo IDs, anything a local soldier could share with us about a man who helped his unit when he was deployed there. We’ve been working with a congressman and two U.S. Senators to try to find them. Last night, a viewer sent us info about her family, also in harm’s way. They are just a few of the thousands trying to flee the country.

“It’s been hectic. A lot of calls,” said Congressman Rick Allen.

Allen spoke to the I-Team via Zoom.

“These are, you know, mainly people that live in the 12th District of Georgia that served in Afghanistan, and they had those folks over there that helped them - interpreters, security forces, and others that are in danger and trying to get out of the country,” he said.

That window is quickly closing as August 31st approaches, but Allen says none of this felt safe for evacuees from day one.

“They gave the names to the Taliban, of those people who helped us that we’re trying to get out of the country,” he said.

With Thursday’s violent attack, what was left of Allen’s trust also turned to rubble.

Did that complicate things for some of these people who are stuck?

“Yes, because what you have is the State Department’s trying to wrap up a war, and you know, that’s really the job of the military,” he said.

Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, a growing list of Republicans is calling for the president’s job.

Former South Carolina Governor and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley took to Twitter suggesting he should step down or be removed.

“It’s an embarrassment on the world stage, and unfortunately, we’ve got a lot of adversaries out there that know this weakness now. And, you know, frankly, something’s gotta be done about it,” said Allen.

President Biden maintains terrorists will not win. He says we can, and must complete the mission.

As for those still trying to get out, Allen says to give his office a call if you know of someone in harm’s way there. His team will do their best to help. Allen’s Augusta office’s phone number is 706-228-1980.

We have also been working with Senators Warnock and Ossoff.

To contact Sen. Warnock’s Office visit https://warnockforgeorgia.com/ or email charles_spry@warnock.senate.gov. For Sen. Ossoff’s Office, visit https://www.ossoff.senate.gov/ or email jake_best@ossoff.senate.gov.

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