Zekria, a U.S. green card holder and Arizona resident, said that he will likely not escape Afghanistan “safe” because of the Biden administration’s rushed withdrawal from the country.
Zekria, 31, who is only identified by his first name, told Fox News that he traveled back to Afghanistan from Arizona to help his family “get somewhere safe.” Zekria is a former interpreter for the U.S. military and received a green card and legal residence in the United States in return for his service, according to Fox News.
The Biden administration withdrawal left behind hundreds of Americans and thousands of Afghan allies to the mercy of the Taliban, whom the U.S. State Department has sought to work with to evacuate Americans from Afghanistan with little success. Earlier this week, dozens of Americans remained grounded awaiting flights out of the airport in Mazar-i-Sharif weeks after the last U.S. forces left Afghanistan.
Zekria said that many Americans and U.S. residents remained trapped in Afghanistan with no clear way to leave.
“There are a lot of people still left behind. My friends, I know them, they are stuck here. Four of them are American citizens. Two from Arizona and two from California,” Zekria told Fox News.
“The Biden administration left without any plan, and that is why there are thousands of allies who worked for the U.S. military, American citizens, Afghan Americans, all stuck here,” he continued. Those Afghans that did get out, Zekria said, were likely “beggars displaced from other provinces.”
“They were not qualified” members of the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa program, Zekria said. “There are a lot of people like me. We are the ones who are qualified. We put ourselves and our families in danger, and they took people that don’t even have documents.”
In the final weeks and days of the evacuation from Afghanistan, the U.S. military evacuated tens of thousands of Afghans out of Kabul’s airport. Most were not vetted before taking off, and the Biden administration has been working to run background checks on all evacuees post-withdrawal, holding thousands of Afghans at military bases in the U.S. and other parts of the world.
Of those Afghans that were evacuated, some have raised red flags. Dozens of evacuated Afghans have been flagged for potential terror ties and at least two evacuees were removed from the U.S. to undergo further vetting.
U.S. officials have reportedly requested guidance from the State Department on how to handle Afghans who escaped with so-called “child brides,” underage girls who are wedded to older Afghan men. Two Afghan men brought to the U.S. were arrested earlier this month for allegedly attempting to rape a child and strangle a woman.
Zekria said that he has reached out to the State Department or filled out an application to be extracted dozens of times with little feedback or direction. He said that one time he was able to get in touch with the State Department, an official told him that only American citizens qualified for evacuation, not green card holders.
“I don’t know how this process is working but there is something that is not right,” he told Fox News. “I pay taxes. The worst thing is my rent and car payment is due in a week and I am scared to get eviction in Arizona while I am here.”
“To be honest, I don’t believe I’m getting out safe,” he said. He added that the Taliban have already come to search his home while he was “luckily” away and that other members of his family have ties to the U.S. as well, which could jeopardize their safety if known by the Taliban.
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