The lives of thousands of Afghan interpreters hang in the balance as districts in the unstable nation continue to fall to the Taliban amid the withdrawal of U.S. troops.
Having little faith that the U.S. government will pull through on its promise to these heroes on the ground, some have begun to seek alternative ways to ensure their safety.
Greg Adams, a former Green Beret in the U.S. Army Special Forces, decided to take matters into his own hands after years of being let down by the State Department’s Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program.
He started a GoFundMe page to raise money for the immediate evacuation of his former interpreter and the man’s wife from Afghanistan. So far more than $28,500 has been donated since the fund started in June.
Adams worked closely with Moneer, the Afghani civilian, in 2009 and 2010.
“Moneer was instrumental in everything that we did.” Greg Adams told Fox News. “This is somebody who was a trusted adviser for me and was tied into decision-making every single day.”
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As Adams described on the GoFundMe page, Moneer has grown up among the Special Operations Forces since the age of 18 and has served with Special Forces Teams, Rangers and Navy SEALs.
“His efforts kept elite U.S. service members alive on hundreds of dangerous missions and resulted in adversaries behind bars and more stable communities.” wrote Adams. “He shares our values and sense of integrity deeply.”
Matthew “Griff” Griffin, former Army Ranger who graduated from West Point with Adams in 2001, joined the initiative to get Moneer, whom he has also worked with, out of Afghanistan.
“Guys like Moneer, who have been in more firefights than 95% of veterans – he’s served our nation more than 99% of our population, and he can’t get his paperwork through,” Griffin told Fox News.
Adams has been supporting Moneer on his SIV process for over a decade to no avail.
“I trusted that there was a system in place in 2010 when I wrote his letter of recommendation and then basically what you find over time is there’s a bunch of bureaucratic red tape in a deeply flawed system,” Adams said.
“In my case, nobody’s really asked me a question about whether Moneer is somebody that I would trust – which I have over and over again – with my life,” he noted. “Griff has done the same thing. And we don’t really count in this process at all whatsoever.”
Despite the State Department claiming that thousands of visas are in the process of being reviewed, neither Adams, Griffin nor Moneer has heard anything to confirm this and the department has yet to provide any additional information, including a list of names.
“Right now, trying to fix the program, that’s not going to happen. What we need to do is get these people out and figure out the paperwork later,” urged Adams
After multiple rejected SIV applications and appeals, the Special Ops veterans got to work on a Plan B for their trusted ally.
As of July 6, Moneer and his wife were evacuated from Afghanistan to an undisclosed third country by way of a 30-day visa. Here they will visit foreign embassies and consulates with hopes of furthering their visa process and securing a more permanent solution.
President Biden addressed the safety concerns of these Afghan allies on Thursday while discussing the end of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan.
“Our message to those women and men is clear,” Biden said. “There is a home for you in the United States if you so choose. We will stand with you, just as you stood with us.”
When asked why Afghan translators can’t be evacuated to the U.S. to await their visa processing – like some immigrants at the U.S. southern border – Biden said: “Because the law doesn’t allow that to happen.”
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“I think what we’re seeing is a lot of speeches regarding the issue and very rarely do speeches turn into great plans, and it’s very rare that great plans turn into well-executed operations,” observed Griffin.
“If we’re looking at past performance as an indicator of future performance, I think the United States government is going to fumble this hard,” he continued. “I believe that the government is just going to trust that the American people are going to forget and move on to the next major thing.”
“This is a major national security issue,” warned Griffin. “We’re going to be kneecapping our foreign policy for the next 20 years if we don’t come through on this simple promise that’s within our reach.”
“If this isn’t who we are, this is who we want to be. The country that will follow through on this,” said Adams. “This is our opportunity. It’s in front of us on a silver platter.”