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 Mateen’s story:
Since the publication of “Amanda’s Story” by Operation Freedom Birds, Afghans in need of help email and text hourly with requests for assistance. Mateen, a young man in Afghanistan, sent a text message to a phone number he received from his cousin in hopes someone would respond. Mateen connected with Freedom Birds and writers Scott Chapman and Russ Pritchard.
In his mid twenties, Mateen attended the American University and studied law with a concentration on local and regional codes. A typical college student, he enjoyed the social life with classmates and the relaxed atmosphere on campus. With three classes remaining to complete his degree, Mateen looked forward to a career practicing municipal law within his own community. “The Taliban shut down my school,” says Mateen. “I was so close, and it’s all been shut down. All of these students with dreams and career plans now have nothing. The grass on campus grows long. The place looks abandoned. Growing up, I never thought the Americans would leave.”
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 U.S. Embassy Annex employed Mateen’s father, brother and cousins as janitors. “Seven of us hide from the Taliban in my house,” says Mateen, “ No one has a source of income or has a way to get money for food. We spend all day inside the house because we’re too scared to go outside. We don’t want to draw the attention of the Taliban. My family worked at the American Embassy to support our family and so I could go to school. Because of where they worked, we will suffer execution.”
“We live in terror. We don’t sleep because someone always has to watch for the Taliban. The last time I went outside, I saw groups of Taliban everywhere. They wear American uniforms, have American weapons, drive American vehicles, and fly American helicopters. They beat people for no reason. Five Talilban stopped me and made me empty my pockets. They asked me questions about my family and if we worked with the Americans. They point their weapons at you and charge them. They pull back on the handle and let you know they are ready to shoot. Many times they do. I miss college. I miss my life before the Taliban. There’s no food. There’s no money. We won’t last much longer. Please send help.”
Help bring Mateen’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