“We must try”: Lawmakers rush to help evacuations in Afghanistan.
But in many cases, lawmakers ditched the administration-led operation weeks ago, turning instead to their own relationships with foreign officials, private organizations and individuals sailing on private charter flights to destinations. and from Afghanistan.
Relevant donors donated millions to an effort, called Operation Flyaway and led by Raven Advisory, to help with the evacuations, compiling a list of more than 4,000 Afghans the Americans were seeking to help. Groups of veterans have jumped into action as part of volunteer efforts to organize what many call a digital Dunkirk. Some have taken it upon themselves to try to rescue Afghans whom they have known personally since their stay abroad.
In collaboration with the Congressional offices, an informal support network has emerged to fill the gaps.
“It’s inspiring,” said Waltz, a former Green Beret who served in Afghanistan. “But at the same time, I think it’s a real testament to how the administration dropped the ball.”
The frustration is bipartisan. When Rep. Andy Kim, Democrat of New Jersey, spoke with a senior State Department official over the weekend, he was hopeful this might provide a lifeline for the American family he was working to evacuate from ‘Afghanistan.
Mr. Kim walked into the meeting with a simple request: What was the best phone number the family could call for help?
“I was told that such a number does not exist”, he said. wrote on Twitter.
In an interview, Mr. Kim, who served in Afghanistan as the military’s strategic advisor, said his office received more than 6,000 requests for assistance, many of which were led by veterans or military officers. national security trying to help their former colleagues in Afghanistan. The requests have come in, he said, through “SMS, WhatsApp, Signal, email, phone calls – literally 24 hours a day.”
“I tell them I can’t make any promises here, but they feel what I feel is that we have to try not to just sit on our hands,” Kim said. .