Afghan interpreter who helped rescue Biden in 2008 evacuated from Afghanistan

Written by on October 11, 2021


(WASHINGTON) — An Afghan interpreter who helped rescue then Sen. Joe Biden during a congressional delegation visit to Afghanistan in 2008 has been evacuated from the country, the State Department and the nonprofit that coordinated his travel confirmed to ABC News on Monday.

The interpreter and his family were among more than 200 “at-risk” people in Pakistan who have now been moved “to safety,” the Human First Coalition said in a statement.

The organization, comprised of volunteers efforting evacuations, thanked Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the State Department for their help facilitating their travel. It said Blinken held late-night phone calls and helped coordinate a “path” out of Pakistan for the group. It also thanked Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan for welcoming the evacuees after they first got out of Afghanistan.

During his 2008 visit to Afghanistan, a helicopter carrying Biden, along with then-Sens. John Kerry and Chuck Hagel, made an emergency landing because of a snowstorm. A group of U.S. service members and their Afghan partners helped rescue them over land, including a man identified as Aman Khalili by the Wall Street Journal, which first reported his story.

After Biden ended the U.S. mission in Afghanistan and withdrew all troops and personnel in August, Khalili pleaded for help getting out — sharing this message for Biden with ABC News: “Please do not forget me and my family. Please find a way to get me out.”

In a statement to ABC News on Monday, the State Department also confirmed Khalili and his family had successfully been evacuated from Afghanistan and had “initiated onward travel from Pakistan.”

“They did so with extensive and high-level engagement and support from the U.S. government, and we are grateful for the many others who also supported him along the way,” a spokesperson from the Department of State told ABC News.

Khalili was one of thousands of Afghans who worked for the U.S. military and diplomatic mission, but had not been able to get a Special Immigrant Visa for their service. It’s unclear whether he was granted a visa now and where he and his family are headed.

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