Afghan officer rescued from Kabul begins new life in U.S.


The dramatic rescue in Afghanistan occurred beneath the quilt of darkness. The Taliban have been closing in, and People have been operating out of time to save lots of Mohammad Khalid Wardak.

The high-profile Afghan nationwide police officer spent years working alongside the U.S. navy, and after the autumn of Kabul, he went on the run, transferring from secure home to secure home, at one level operating barefoot to keep away from seize. The U.S. and its allies had solely minutes to get Khalid, as his mates name him, and his spouse and their 4 younger sons to the security of a ready helicopter.

As a part of Operation Promise Kept, the household was whisked away to an undisclosed location in Kabul after which to Kuwait, the place Khalid was handled for a wound from a mortar assault. Lower than three weeks later, the warrior who as soon as directed resistance towards the Taliban from a hospital mattress has settled along with his household in america.

“I’m a free man,” Khalid instructed The Related Press via an interpreter after arriving at Dulles Worldwide Airport close to Washington, D.C., aboard a U.S. navy flight 15 days after his rescue. “It’s like a dream for me.”

Throughout a 90-minute dialog from a U.S. authorities official’s dwelling, Khalid, who left Afghanistan with a couple of vital paperwork and the garments he was sporting, recounted his closing firefights with the Taliban, the brotherhood he developed with U.S. particular forces and the prospect of a brand new life without having for bodyguards, due to the generosity of mates and strangers.

“Each single minute I used to be, like, ‘They’re most likely going to kidnap my kids or my brothers and kill them,’” he stated, nonetheless apprehensive about kin in Afghanistan. “All people was on the lookout for me.”

Khalid is among the hundreds of Afghans beginning over in new nations after the American withdrawal. His mates stated he had no intention of leaving and deliberate to defend his homeland after U.S. forces have been gone. However the authorities collapsed with gorgeous velocity, and the president fled the nation.

He was broadly identified due to his place as police chief in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand province and from tv appearances, together with one by which he challenged the Taliban to a battle, his mates stated.

“There’s no worth on this planet to have the ability to see Khalid and his household,” stated Robert McCreary, a former congressional chief of employees and White Home official beneath President George W. Bush, who labored with U.S. particular forces in Afghanistan. “You’re speaking about human lives and whether or not they dwell or die. We’re so completely satisfied that we have been in a position to get this achieved for them after every little thing they’ve achieved for us.”

McCreary instructed the AP final month that Khalid originally sought protection only for his family while he kept fighting.

He stated Khalid got here to the rescue in March 2013, when a particular forces detachment in japanese Afghanistan’s Wardak province suffered an insider assault. Somebody wearing an Afghan Nationwide Safety Forces uniform opened hearth, killing two People.

When the outpost was nearly concurrently attacked from the skin, a U.S. commander referred to as on Khalid, who inside minutes raced into the valley with a quick-reaction power to defend his American companions.

In 2015, when Khalid misplaced a part of his proper leg in a rocket-propelled grenade assault, mates within the U.S. navy helped get him medical care and a prosthetic leg outdoors the nation. A month later, he was once more main particular police operations alongside People, stated Military Particular Forces Sgt. Main Chris Inexperienced, who labored with Khalid in Afghanistan.

Alongside the best way, he helped apprehend al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders. He went on to function police chief in Ghazni province after which Helmand province, the place he was wounded in July within the mortar assault.

Khalid stated he left a “very robust scenario” and “returned from the useless.”

“I served my nation for 20 years. We had a authorities. We had a navy. All the things is gone. Generally I cry about it,” he stated. “These brothers helped me. I wasn’t anticipating to be alive. However they saved my life and my household.”

Khalid spent his first days in Washington strolling across the metropolis and spending time along with his household at a park. The kids of a authorities official baked his household dozens of cookies. He was taken over the weekend to Walmart to purchase garments.

He hopes to fulfill this week with Sen. Chris Coons who, with McCreary, helped lead the trouble to rescue Khalid, McCreary stated. He additionally plans to fulfill with immigration attorneys to start the method of changing into an American citizen.

Khalid stated he needs to study English, pursue a level in pc engineering and spend extra time along with his household, one thing he wasn’t in a position to do in Afghanistan.

“I spent numerous time at battle,” he stated. “That is the primary time that I’m dwelling secure with my household.”

Nic McKinley, a CIA and Air Pressure veteran who based Dallas-based DeliverFund, a nonprofit that’s secured housing for 50 Afghan households in america, stated that Khalid’s story, whereas dramatic, is just not uncommon amongst Afghans.

He helped discover Khalid a bunch in Washington and made certain he and his household had garments and meals.

“Khalid is a really good man, a really succesful man,” McKinley stated. “The entire group is wrapping round him to be sure that he has the issues that he wants and, extra importantly, as new wants pop up sooner or later, he has a group that he can lean on.”

McCreary stated he deliberate to be there for Khalid each step of the best way.

“It is a nice solution to present him how a lot we love him for every little thing that he’s achieved with us and for us and what number of American lives he saved and his time working alongside us,” McCreary stated. “It’s a real honor to maintain that promise for him.”


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