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Father of US soldier wants to help Afghan interpreter get his family out of Afghanistan

Posted at 8:11 PM, Aug 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-23 07:46:37-04

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. — For years, Abdul Hadi Aslami served as an Afghan interpreter for the U.S. Army.

"Hadi was an interpreter who was extremely valuable to them in detecting threats in everything, even to my own son’s life," said John Keller, the father of an active-duty U.S. Soldier who served in Afghanistan.

Keller says Hadi is a hero for his work of intercepting radio traffic of attacks by the Taliban, which helped save the life of his son and many others.

Hadi has received award letters and recognition by American commanders, proving his loyalty.

Now, Hadi and his wife live in the U.S. but he fears that his loyalty will cost his family still in Kabul, their lives.

"They are in a bad situation, we don’t know when the Taliban will kill them," said Maryam Aslami, Hadi's wife.

Hadi says his family tells him that the Taliban are going door to door searching for people who helped the U.S.

"If you’re a soldier, you take an oath and you write a blank check for your life right? Well if you’re an Afghani, they don’t write a check just for their lives. They write a blank check for their mother, and their sister, and their children, for their whole family's life," said Keller.

Now Keller is trying to help the family of the man who helped his family, by getting their names into the right hands to get them safely out of Afghanistan.

"His family is my family," said Keller.

In St. Pete, Johan Barrios, who served in Afghanistan, is working tirelessly to help an Afghan engineer who helped the U.S, get out of Kabul.

"I took a whole week off of work. Neighbors and friends have been watching my kids so I can just focus on this," said Barrios.

She says the documentation for the engineer’s family is complete but getting it into the right hands and getting them safely to the Taliban guarded airport is the problem.

"Right now, just feeling this absolute abandonment, like there’s no help," said Barrios.

I spoke to the engineer who is still in Kabul. He said he and his family are hiding in his home, feeling a sense of hopelessness and fearing for their lives.

"This is countdown time for most of the coalition forces. They are counting down their lifetime," said the engineer who is not being named for his safety.

We reached out to Florida Congressmen, Senator Marco Rubio, and Congressman Gus Bilirakis.

Both offices responded and say they are working to help push the paperwork of these families through the U.S. State Department.

Congressman Bilirakis gave us this statement in part: "We have a moral obligation to our allies in Afghanistan who risked their lives to assist U.S. Troops during the past two decades.

We cannot abandon them and their families in their hour of need as they are being targeted by the Taliban for execution."

What will happen to fleeing Afghans arriving in the US and how you can help

On Friday, President Biden made this promise to those stuck in Afghanistan.

"We want you to be able to get to the airport. Contact us. We’ll see whatever we can do to get you there. We've got to get you out," said Biden.

As for those trying to do what they can to help those who helped us, they're hoping and praying for some resolution for these families.

"The warrior ethos is to leave no one behind," said Keller.