One year ago, millions of Americans watched chaos unfold in Afghanistan as the Taliban took hold amid President Biden’s ordered withdrawal of all American forces. Thousands of Americans and Afghan allies rushed to leave the country, but many are still left behind.
U.S. Army combat veteran Alex Plitsas reflected on the rescue efforts on “America’s Newsroom” Tuesday and reunited with former U.S. forces interpreter Abdul Wali Sidiqui, who was saved by Operation “Digital Dunkirk.”
“[Federal officials] were given a very difficult and nearly impossible mission,” Plitsas told co-host Dana Perino.
Operation “Digital Dunkirk” was one attempt to assist Americans and allies flee the country following news of the withdrawal. Plitsas was a member of this operation which helped 15,000 Americans, Afghan allies and their families escape before the August 31 deadline.
Abdul Wali Sidiqui shared his joy at starting a new life in Houston, Texas, after he was rescued by Plitsas’ operation.
“I am so excited because in the 20 years, this is the first time I am staying a long time with my family,” he said. “And I am so excited here. Life is treating me well.”
While many Americans have returned home and allies established a new life in the States, thousands still wait anxiously for rescue.
“[It’s] bittersweet in the sense that there’s still 160,000 interpreters, 74,000 of them are the applicants and the rest of their immediate family members who remain left behind,” Plitsas shared. “And so a year later, we still have a commitment as a nation that we haven’t fulfilled.”
Nearly a year later, rescue attempts face new challenges.
“For the folks who are inside [the] country, we need more throughput,” Plitsas said. “There needs to be more planes. There needs to be additional capacity to hold folks, and there needs to be additional government resources to help do that.”
“We owe them. We made this promise to them.”
Fox News’ Bailee Hill contributed to this report.