In an interview on MSNBC on Monday, Afghanistan war veteran Matt Zeller issued a powerful plea to President Biden that he should implement a plan to rescue tens of thousands of Afghans who assisted America’s war effort over the last 20 years.
“I have been personally trying to tell this administration since it took office . . . that this was coming,” said Zeller, cofounder of the nonprofit No One Left Behind, an organization dedicated to helping former Afghan interpreters. “Nobody listened to us. They didn’t plan for the evacuation of our Afghan wartime allies. They’re trying to conduct it now at the eleventh hour.
“We had all the people and equipment in place to save these people months ago — and we did nothing. I’m appalled that [President Biden] thinks we only need to take 2,000 people. There’s 86,000 people who are currently left behind in Afghanistan alone,” Zeller said. “We’ve identified them for the government.”
Zeller, who said his Afghan interpreter saved his life during a gun battle in 2008, made the case that U.S. troops should hold the Kabul airport as long as necessary to evacuate allies. “I’m sick and tired of trying to defer to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan on what we’re going to do. We’re the United States of America. They’re terrified of us,” Zeller said. “The Taliban are not going to wipe these people out so long as we have a beachhead. We should be holding that for as long as it takes to get every single one of them out.”
It’s worth watching Zeller’s full interview here.