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Bay Ridge pol helps get Brooklyn family safely evacuated from Afghanistan

Rep. Nicole Malliotakis speaks during a meeting on Capitol Hill in May.
Susan Walsh/Pool via REUTERS

Brooklyn/Staten Island Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis reported Thursday that her office successfully assisted with the safe evacuation of four Brooklyn constituents — a mother and her three small children — from Kabul, Afghanistan.

Although critical of President Joe Biden over the chaotic pullout from the war-torn country after two decades of American involvement, the Republican freshman congressmember said earlier this week her office has taken several cases of constituents who are stuck in Kabul and are attempting to get out. Some of them are US citizens, including children.

“I’m happy to announce that my office, together with the US State Department, was able to safely evacuate a mother and her three young children, who reside in my district, from Kabul, Afghanistan. They have been flown via US military aircraft to Qatar and will soon be able to take a flight back to the United States where they will be reunited with their father who worked alongside American troops in Afghanistan,” said Malliotakis.

A Malliotakis spokesperson said no photos are available, and the office is not entirely sure when the mother and her children will be home safe in the US.

“The father says they will consider interviews when everyone is home and safe. As you can imagine, this is a very scary and nerve-wracking situation for all involved,” said the spokesperson.

Malliotakis said the State Department is currently attempting to account for every US person looking to be repatriated in the United States. 

“We are working to confirm with the State Department that our constituents are on their list of people to be accounted for, but have so far heard nothing,” she said.

The US invaded Afghanistan shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks which destroyed the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon, with four hijacked aircraft used as weapons. Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden — a Saudi national — planned the attack from Afghanistan after the Taliban gave him and the terrorist organization refuge.

Though the Taliban was driven out of power, they remained in conflict in pockets of the country over the next 20 years. As war-weary Americans withdrew support for our involvement in Afghanistan, former President Donald Trump struck a deal last year agreeing to have all remaining American forces out of the nation this year.

President Biden stuck with the deal after taking office, but he pushed back the deadline from May to Aug. 31. However, in recent weeks, as American forces drew down, the Taliban made startling advances and surged into the capital city of Kabul on Aug. 15. 

With the US military in control of Kabul’s airport, an effort is now underway to get thousands of Americans out of Afghanistan before the end of the month. Malliotakis stated that the Biden Administration must ensure that every one of the remaining Americans in the country are safely evacuated before the US finally pulls out for good.

“While an estimated 15,000 Americans are still waiting to evacuate Afghanistan, our ability to assist this family gives me a glimmer of hope that the State Department is working diligently to improve the repatriation process. President Biden and the Department of State must commit to safely evacuating and repatriating all US citizens. No American should be left behind,” she added.

Anyone with Americans in Afghanistan who seek further information about their return to the US can fill out a Repatriation Assistance Request form on the official website for the US Embassy in Afghanistan, here.

This story first appeared on amNewYork.

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