US Embassy in Pakistan repeatedly hangs up on veteran pleading for help
US Embassy repeatedly hangs up on veteran pleading for help
A former U.S. soldier in Pakistan said the U.S. Embassy repeatedly hung up on him as he pleaded for help and wouldn’t let him enter the building to speak with a government official.
The former staff sergeant, an Afghan native, said he traveled from the U.S. to Pakistan to try to help his family escape the Taliban and flee Afghanistan. He went to the embassy to request diplomatic aid for his family and for American citizens, green card holders and Afghans with special immigrant visas he said were stuck at the border.
“I showed up outside the U.S. Embassy and I literally begged them to let me in,” the veteran, who goes by call sign “Legend,” told Fox News. “It was that embarrassing. A U.S. citizen is not permitted entry in U.S. soil.”
He said no one picked up when he tried one phone number. When someone answered a second number, he told them he was a U.S. soldier and needed help. He said he wasn’t comfortable discussing details over the phone, given their sensitivity. Fox News obtained and reviewed recordings of several of his phone calls, confirming his account.
“They hung up the phone,” the veteran told Fox News. “I called again and again, the same thing. I couldn’t believe it. I was in in shock.”
“I gave up, I gave up,” he continued. “They kept hanging up. No matter what I say, they kept hanging up.”
He said he “started tearing up” when he left the area.
“It felt like somebody was stabbing me in my back,” the veteran, who was discharged after suffering traumatic brain injuries, told Fox News.
Fox News granted him anonymity to protect him and his family from the Taliban.
“We are aware of these reports, but for privacy considerations have no further comment,” a State Department spokesperson told Fox News.
Afghan refugees look for donated clothing and shoes at the donation center at Fort McCoy U.S. Army base, in Wisconsin, U.S., September 30, 2021. Barbara Davidson/Pool via REUTERS
A border crawling with terrorists, extremists
The veteran said the Taliban, ISIS-K and al Qaeda were all at the Pakistan border, making it harder and more dangerous for anyone trying to escape Afghanistan. He said the Taliban created more checkpoints in response to the increased ISIS-K threat.
“They’re frisking everyone,” the veteran told Fox News. “These Afghan allies that we have – U.S. citizens, green card holders – they have to get past all these checkpoints and then not only hide from the Taliban, but also ISIS-K and then al Qaeda.”
“And ISIS is targeting directly U.S. citizens, green card holders, anyone with an Afghan passport wanting to get out,” he added. “They’re in search of these guys.”
Additionally, the Pakistani government won’t allow anyone to cross the border from Afghanistan, even if they have the appropriate documents, according to the veteran. As a result, Afghans are stuck at the border, unable to return to cities like Kabul because of the Taliban checkpoints.
Afghans can bribe their way past border guards for anywhere from $300 to $700 per person if they have visas, but they wouldn’t receive an entry stamp, the veteran said.
As a result, there were instances, he said, when Afghans would travel some 30 miles into the country, but then get stopped and deported by Pakistani police.
“But this time, now, they hand them over back to the Taliban,” the veteran told Fox News. “They were running away from the Taliban to begin with.”
Everyone seeking to get across the border into Pakistan are “all begging the U.S. embassy to step in,” the veteran said.
He also criticized the U.S. State Department for “bragging about how they’re helping Afghan allies.”
“You’re not,” the veteran said. “You’re lying, you’re not even permitting entry to U.S. citizens.”
All U.S. citizens seeking to leave Afghanistan with proper documentation “have been offered an opportunity to do so,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken meeting with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi (not pictured) on the sidelines of the 76th Session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York, in September 2021.
(Kena Betancur/Pool via REUTERS, File)
‘Dire need of help’
The former soldier said he’s helped at least 30 at-risk Afghans, including Christians and other minorities, cross illegally into Pakistan.
But, it wasn’t feasible for his family of six to travel from Kabul to the border, since they’d have to pass around 30 Taliban checkpoints, he said. They feared the Taliban would kill them if they were caught, because of the veteran’s work with the U.S. military as well as their own work in the Afghan government.
Additionally, his niece, a journalist, was a vocal Taliban critic.
Members of Taliban sitting on a military vehicle during Taliban military parade in Kabul, Afghanistan, Nov. 14.
The veteran successfully helped his family escape Afghanistan through another route after his interview with Fox News, but he said they’d be deported into the hands of the Taliban if they can’t secure a passage out within 28 days of their arrival.
They tried to leave through the Kabul airport during the U.S. airlift but were unsuccessful. The veteran blamed the Biden administration for its failure to evacuate Taliban targets including his family.
“They caused this big mess, and now they’re hiding behind these walls, and they will not even agree to open the gates for a U.S. citizen,” the veteran told Fox News.
He said his only remaining for recourse is to go to the media and “plead for help.”
“I’ve done everything else in my power,” he told Fox News.
“If there’s anyone out there that can help me, help my family, help all these other individuals, U.S. citizens, U.S. green card holders, our Afghan allies, please, please help us,” the veteran said. “We’re in dire need of help.”
Those who believe they can help the veteran or his family can email [email protected]
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