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:
Established to train the Afghan National Army (ANA) and the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), Camp Phoenix was home to “Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix” (CJTF-Phoenix). Here, Afghans learned and worked alongside their various foreign military components. If one was stationed at Camp Phoenix in Afghanistan, there’s a high probability one encountered Amooz and his brother, Farzad. They managed the ‘Morale Welfare and Recreation’ (MWR) department - a vital component of deployment life for service members. The two brothers split duties. Amooz worked days; Farzad worked nights. They cleaned and stocked the gym, television lounges, phone areas, and laundry facility. Amooz and Farzad prepared conference rooms for meetings and decorated the MWR facilities to make the troops feel more at home during the holidays. They coordinated their efforts and schedules without complaint and increased the morale of the U.S. service members far from home and families. In this capacity, the brothers became a vital part of the American military garrison operations.
Amooz and Farzad dedicated fourteen years to the care of the U.S. Military service men and women in Afghanistan. Amooz became a United States citizen and Farzad possesses a Green Card permitting permanent residency in the States. They live together and have steady employment in the United States. Their extended family remains in Afghanistan.
The withdrawal of the United States military and subsequent takeover by the Taliban brought about devastating consequences. The Taliban regard anyone who assists the United States to be an infidel. They’re deemed traitors. Afghan culture holds the entire family responsible for the perceived sins of one. The Taliban issued death warrants for Amooz and Farzad’s family members as a result of their service to the United States military. “For years, no one knew I was working at Camp Phoenix. My family encouraged me to take a different route home every day to try and remain anonymous.” says Amooz, “One Thanksgiving a U.S. service member asked me to accompany him to the market so I could translate. After that, the entire town knew I worked for the Americans. I compromised my safety and the safety of my family so that one American could have a traditional holiday meal.”
Several days before the fall of the airport in Kabul, a group of Taliban fighters stopped Amooz’s cousin. They interrogated him in the middle of the day while onlookers pretended not to watch for their own safety. His answers proved unsatisfactory and perhaps indicated he was from the Panjshir Valley, an anti Taliban region and home to the National Resistance Front. “Like so many others since their rise back to power, the Taliban executed my cousin, shot him multiple times,” mourns Amooz. “He was scared. He was trying to get to the airport. He was trying to get to safety.”
Amooz and Farzad’s father, aged 90 plus years, ran into a Taliban checkpoint while trying to buy food. The Taliban fighters recognized him and threatened to take his granddaughters away ‘by force’ and kill his remaining family if he didn't convince his sons to return from the United States. In the chaos during the collapse of Kabul, their father fell, suffered injuries, and is in need of medical attention. However, the family must remain hidden.
Amooz and Farzad’s family moves from hiding place to hiding place. “They’ve changed locations several times,” says Amooz. “There’s thirty people living in a small room with limited food and clean water. Two girls, ages nine and eleven, leave the house each day to scrounge for food. No one can buy anything because no one has money.”
In desperation, Amooz phoned his State Senator’s office to plead for help. The office staff instructed him to fill out one form for each of his thirty family members and submit them to another Government office. Amooz completed all thirty forms in one afternoon. He awaits a response.
Help bring Amooz and Farzad’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