As Hatian refugees at the Texas border require attention, some Texans fear the previous migrant crisis in Afghanistan has been forgotten.
So they’re working to rescue thousands of Afghans with ties to the US who are still trying to leave their country.
In the final chaos of U.S. Military departure from Afghanistan in August, the Afghan government the US helped support quickly folded. Thousands of Afghans who bet their lives on supporting 20 years of US occupation were stranded. Many were U.S. Military translators and their families.
John Green is a retired U.S. Army Colonel who spent four years in Afghanistan with the Army and then three more as a civilian. Now a resident of Austin, he still has many acquaintances living in or connected with Afghanistan.
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“There are tens of thousands of Afghans who worked with us openly to help us do what we attempted to accomplish in that country. And now, because of the rapidity of the capitulation of the government, there are 50, 100, 200 thousand of them that have simply been left behind,” Green said.
Now an immigration attorney, Green is part of a network called Tarjoman Relief. Tarjoman means 'one who translates’ in an Afghan language.
“We have about 700 people we are tracking. We've gotten 100 people out of Afghanistan so far. There are a dozen other organizations doing the same thing, some on a much larger scale,” Green said.
Green and his volunteers have delivered supplies to Afghan refugees who have made it to the U.S.
Long-time Dallas area resident Aziz Budri, an Afghanistan native, is helping the relief effort through his Afghan Refugees Assistance Program.
“There are some people there that are wearing the same clothes that they came into the United States, for three full weeks, because they have nothing else,” Budri said.
The assistance program has warehouses in Dallas and Fort Worth open Wednesday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for donations. The Dallas location is 2004 Irving Boulevard. The Fort Worth location is 3528 Paladin Place.
Now the Texas supporters fear the surge of Haitian refugees at the U.S. border may have eclipsed attention to the Afghan situation for key people in the U.S. government.
“Every person only has 24 hours a day to work and breathe. So, it compounds the problem. It absolutely does. But these issues to me are distinct,” Green said. “The priority because of my experience is that we take care of the people who openly supported the U.S. government in the global war on terrorism for 20 years.”
Green said he knows some U.S. government officials are working very hard on the Afghanistan issues but more U.S. funding will be needed for rescues and relief.
“We're going to fill the gap. We've just got to fill the gap. Brother, that's what we're going to do,” Green said.
More funding for the Afghanistan situation is pending in the U.S. Congress in the midst of several other debates.