A few updates from “Samaritan,” my reader who’s been trying to get his company’s former employees, including at least one green-card holder, out of Afghanistan.
His best bit of news is that he’s heard from another former employee, an Afghan engineer, who made it to the United States.
“He took the chance at Abbey Gate with his wife and children,” Samaritan reports. “They made it through because he was pending Special Immigrant Visa. Once the Marine guards confirmed his SIV status with the Department of State, they let him through. They flew them to Qatar, then Spain, and they now reside in Fort Dix in New Jersey awaiting resettlement. Once he got a SIM card for his cell phone, he pinged me with the good news. He hopes to make his way to Houston for work, and where there is a small but growing Afghan community.”
Samaritan also shared a fun memory from his time in Afghanistan. “When I worked there, I had more than a few Afghans ask me if I had a horse or if I was from the American West — I’m pretty sure they didn’t mean California. Some of it was driven by their fascination with the U.S. Special Forces horse soldiers who were the initial invasion force in October 2001. They were legendary among Afghans.”
But that’s about for the good news. His legal permanent resident “is still getting the run around from State on visa interviews for wife and children. There is still no system in place. It’s as if State has given up developing a reasonable alternative, and the only thing they have to offer is ‘come see us if you can.’”
Another one of Samaritan’s guys fled to Jalalabad, about 75 miles east of Kabul, with his family, to his parents’ home, concluding that Kabul had grown too dangerous. “Of course, over the weekend there were six bombings in Jalalabad (ISIS-K attacking Taliban fighters because the Taliban is too lenient). I asked him if he was safe.”
Samaritan showed me the text message: “Good evening sir. No place is safe. I am totally confused what to do and where to go. If I go to Kabul, I think someone can easily hunt us.”
Samaritan also sent me a recording of the phone message from the consular section of the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, you receive a recorded message: “The consular section does not accept phone inquiries about non-immigrants, or immigrant visa cases, or policies. Inquiries are accepted through our web site. You can access our web site at Islamabad.usembassy.gov. We will repeat this address again at the end of this message. On our web site’s home page, click on visas and then select contact information’ on the drop-down menu.”
The problem is, there is nothing at the address, “Islamabad.usembassy.gov.” The web address for the U.S. embassy in Pakistan is https://pk.usembassy.gov/. (The drop-down menu on the visa page is also a little different from the phone message’s description.)
“We figured out the correct website and navigated to the webpages for servicing immigrant visas for my guy’s wife and children,” Samaritan says. “They have an active case pending through the closed Kabul embassy . . . but Islamabad embassy won’t handle his case because it hasn’t been transferred by the Kabul embassy. We been trying to reach the Kabul embassy to transfer the case to no avail. We will keep trying.”