DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Military veterans across the country are scrambling to get at-risk Afghans out of the country before the window for rescues closes in the coming days.
President Biden is sticking by his plan to withdraw all U.S. forces by August 31.READ MORE: Amber Alert Issued For 12-Year-Old Girl Out Of Converse, Texas
“It sounds like we have about 48 hours, really through Friday, to evacuate interpreters and other Afghan partners that worked with U.S. and coalition forces,” said Andrew Vernon, a former Marine officer from North Texas.
Vernon served in the Marine Corps and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2011.
He said their work there wouldn’t have been possible without Afghan interpreters.
“I think we still bear some responsibility and have a moral obligation to these people that took great personal risk to help us,” Vernon said.
He’s been trying for years to get one of his interpreters safely out of the country, but the recent collapse of the government in Afghanistan has made his mission even more urgent.READ MORE: COVID-19 Pandemic Has Taken A Toll On Mental Health, Led To More Drug Abuse, CDC Says
The interpreter and his family have been receiving threats from the Taliban.
“The Taliban are actively going door-to-door and searching for Afghans that worked with coalition forces,” said Vernon. “There have been a number of reprisal killings already.”
The president may not be backing down from his evacuation timeline, but Vernon won’t stop fighting to help at-risk Afghans even after the August 31st deadline.
“We’re not going to forget them, and we hope the American people don’t either,” he said. “This is not what success looks like, and this is not what the best America has to offer looks like. It really does a disservice to the men and women who went out, deployed, did their job in the ground, that our leadership continues to fail.”
The pace of military evacuations has sped up in the last few weeks.
The administration has evacuated 82,300 people on U.S. military and coalition flights since August 14, the White House said Wednesday morning.MORE NEWS: US To Deport 'Massive' Number Of Haitian Migrants From Texas Border Town
It’s unclear just how many people still need to be evacuated.