Since the last military flight out of Kabul and the Khider District Massacre, both events occurring on 30 August 2021, Chapman and Pritchard have co-authored numerous heartbreaking stories about Afghans in peril.
By Scott Chapman and Russ Pritchard
Operation Freedom Birds facilitates safe and reliable air transport for American Citizens and Afghan Allies, including asylum seekers currently hiding in Afghanistan. Acronyms associated with these categories include: AMCIT’s, SIV, P1, and P2. The acronyms represent human beings hunted by the Taliban. Primarily a volunteer organization with a pending 501C3 nonprofit status, Operation Freedom Birds does not hold a political view. It is a humanitarian operation to save lives in imminent danger from the Taliban. Through working relationships with other evacuation efforts and maintaining open lines of communication with the Department of State, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, Members of Congress, and numerous subject matter experts, Operation Freedom Birds provides transport from Afghanistan’s neighboring countries and operates strictly within airports and legal air spaces.
Flooded by requests from around the world, the unanimous message vocalized to Operation Freedom Birds is a fear-driven plea for help. In recent weeks, many have had friends and family tortured and killed by the Taliban; many are actively being hunted and in peril. Entire families, 15 or more, move every few days, hoping to stay ahead of the Taliban while waiting for a mechanism of transport to safety.
This is one story:
Born in Kabul, Abdul Malik worked as an interpreter for the U.S. Intelligence community while deployed to the infamous Helmand Province. Regarded as the Taliban’s birthplace, this region produces over 40% of the world’s opium. This story’s co-author, Scott Chapman, spent over a year working with Abdul Malik in Helmand Province where Chapman was a security contractor. Abdul worked as an interpreter for the American security contractors supporting the U.S. Govt’s efforts in Helmand Province. Abdul lived with the Americans in safe houses and then in covert installations throughout the province. He coordinated security checks for any local nationals who entered the secure facility. He also served as the liaison between the local guards force (LGF) and their American mentors during active engagements with the Taliban. He performed these duties for over two years. Abdul eventually returned to his family in Kabul and took a project manager position for a construction company that fulfilled U.S. Government contracts. He never spoke about his time in Helmand Province.
As a consequence of the United States Military’s departure from Afghanistan, hordes of radicals from Helmand Province have filled the power vacuum and terrorize the citizens of Kabul. “Anyone who worked for the U.S. Government is hunted like a dog.,” says Abdul. “We’re too scared to look out a window in fear of attracting attention. I am responsible for sixteen people. We live in a tiny rented house and are running out of food. We share the house with another family who’s also hiding from the Taliban, and we can’t hide here much longer. This is the second time we’ve moved since the Taliban took over.”
The Taliban ransack homes in search of those who worked with or supported the Americans. They barge into homes and rip up the floorboards, look behind furniture, and dump everything on the ground in search of ‘incriminating documents’; such as an [American] base access ID card, certificates of appreciation from the Americans, or anything written in English. Abdul continues, “Now that the residents of Helmand Province are in Kabul, I can’t walk down the street or go to the market because I'll be recognized as someone who worked with the United States,” says Abdul. “The Taliban offer a reward for anyone who helps locate the families in hiding. We burned every document, ID badge, and certificate I received from the U.S. If they find me, they will kill all of us. My mom; my dad; and even my kids.”
“A lot of people ‘got disappeared’ in the past few weeks and their families don’t know whether they are dead or alive. They’re just gone,” says Abdul. “We can never rest. One of us stays awake all night to watch for the Taliban. We live in terror. Any minute they could burst through the door. I don’t know how much longer we can do this.”
Help bring Abdul’s family to safety. Help Operation Freedom Birds
Scott Chapman is an independent journalist, author, former Army Ranger, OGA Blackwater contractor, entrepreneur, husband, dog lover, and astrophysics scholar. Scott is the co-founder of the Afghan Medical Corps and can be reached at ScottChapmanAuthor@Protonmail.com
Russ Pritchard is an independent journalist, professional writer, former Chief Marketing Officer, flight medic, triathlete, husband, father, and grandfather. Russ is the co-founder of the Afghan Medical Corps and can be reached at RussPritchard@Protonmail.com