TAMPA, Fla. — A Tampa-based defense contracting company is using its own technology to track down Afghans and Americans who need help in Afghanistan.
The company is called Quiet Professionals. It's a group made up of mostly former military members. They’re combining their skill sets to act as a joint operations center for companies around the world in an effort to help evacuate people from Afghanistan.
“It’s so hard to see that country, that beautiful country that I enjoyed… It went backward,” said Nazar M. Niazi, an employee at Quiet Professionals.
Naz spent the first 24 years of his life in Afghanistan. But today, he’s 7,000 miles from there in a conference room, working for Quiet Professionals.
“We’re almost at a thousand people on the tracker today,” said Andrew Wilson, President and CEO of Quiet Professionals.
The number on that screen reflects the amount of people, Americans and Afghans, who have reached out to Quiet Professionals pleading for help.
“We have all these Afghan people that have assisted us over the years. We’ve let them down in creating chaos in their country, and because they’ve helped us, they’re marked for death. Them and their families,” said Wilson.
They’ve never worked on as large-scale an operation as this, but they say when chaos erupted in Kabul, they put their technology to work.
“We found that with a couple of posts on LinkedIn, a couple of posts on some other social media networks about what we were doing, it caused a frenzy of all the folks that were involved in the same, similar things that we’re doing around the globe,” said Wilson.
They created a survey and distributed the link to their contacts in Afghanistan. If one of them needs help, they fill it out, and then they’re counted on the tracker.
“Most of the people that are on that tracker are personally known by people within the greater network. So they’re vouching for the individuals, of course, we have all their paperwork,” said Wilson.
Quiet Professionals has team members and contacts from all kinds of military and government backgrounds, and many of them have connections with people in Afghanistan. They’re providing whatever resources they need in order to get people to the Hamid Karzai International Airport safely.
“We’re passing them as much intelligence as we can about where checkpoints might be, or things that they may have to look out for,” said Wilson.
It’s an effort that hits close to home for many of them, and especially for Naz.
“One girl that I talked to, she was in her last semester of her graduation from university, and she said, ‘uncle, I lost my life,’” said Nazari.
But right here, a little glimmer of hope. Amongst this sea of red dots, there are a few blue dots, representing people they’re already helping.
Wilson says they’ve already helped facilitate evacuations for nearly 100 people, and their list is growing.
If you’d like to donate to some of the organizations they recommend helping, click here.