November 23, 2021
By RFE/RL’s Radio Azadi
A former high-ranking member of Afghan special forces and commando units has issued a plea urging U.S. officials to move remaining members of the force to the United States to avoid a “humanitarian catastrophe.”
The former high-ranking member, who ask not to be identified by name, sent a statement to RFE/RL on November 23.
The United States and its allies evacuated tens of thousands of at-risk Afghans after the Taliban toppled the Western-backed government in Kabul in August following the withdrawal of U.S. and other coalition troops.
As of late October, there were some 53,000 Afghans staying at eight military bases in the United States and receiving medical care and other assistance before resettlement around the country.
But thousands more people want to leave the war-torn country, with those who worked closely with Western militaries seen to be in particular danger from potential Taliban retaliation.
In their statement to RFE/RL, the special forces and commandos said the troops, part of “an elite military force and the best fighting force in Afghanistan,” worked with U.S. and NATO special forces and international partners for common goals and “to eliminate international terrorism for the past 20 years.”
“We fought side by side against the Taliban and other terrorist groups in Afghanistan, and we lost hundreds of our elite comrades in the fight against the Taliban.”
The statement added that after the “escape of political leaders” and the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, the organization disintegrated, with many members left destitute and in danger.
It said the Taliban is seeking out members of the force and is likely to execute those who are caught.
The statement urged U.S. officials to help move those remaining in Afghanistan “to the United States with their families and fulfill your historic responsibility to your Afghan colleagues.”
It warned that a “humanitarian catastrophe” could occur if the forces in Afghanistan are not transferred to the United States, where many of their family members have already been transported.
On November 19, the German Foreign Ministry said that its special representative for Afghanistan, Jasper Wieck, and Ambassador-designate Markus Potzel met with high-ranking officials from the Taliban government in Kabul.
German officials said the Taliban committed to a previously announced general amnesty for anyone affiliated with the toppled internationally backed government and former security forces. They also repeated a pledge for free passage for all Afghans who want to leave the country.
“We have taken note of the pledges. Further engagement depends on their implementation,” the Foreign Ministry said.