(WTRF) – It’s seemingly a race against time for those trying to flee Afghanistan, and for the people in the United States trying to help them.
Veterans and others in the U.S. who served in Afghanistan, have now started their own efforts to help those with who they worked with and became friends, to leave the country before the August 31 deadline.
7News was in the room with veteran and West Virginia State Senator Ryan Weld when spoke on the phone with a man he worked with, whose life is in immediate danger.
That man’s name is Mohammad. He worked closely with Weld, during the year he spent serving in the Zabul Province of Afghanistan. Now Weld is calling all his contacts to get Mohammad and his family to safety because the Taliban called to threaten Mohammad’s life.
He was the face of what they were trying to do there and the face of working with us, and so as a result of that his life is in grave danger.Ryan Weld, Veteran, West Virginia State Senator
Weld explains Mohammad was a member of the provincial government and worked closely with American troops, so he’s well known.
Now, he gets calls from the Taliban, swearing to find him and kill him.
Trying to work to get somebody out whose life is at risk because they chose to work with us is imperative. It’s not something that I thought I would be doing 10 years after I came home from Afghanistan.Ryan Weld, Veteran, West Virginia State Senator
Mohammad, his wife, and six children fled to Kabul, as he tries desperately to get to the airport.
There were a lot of people and uh I was not able to go there.Mohammad
Mohammad said he’s tried several times, but large crowds stand in his way. He also told Weld he hears that man Afghans are leaving on American planes and sees planes flying every day.
We didn’t get to talk with U.S. Army or police because there were a lot of people in front of the airport. Because there were a lot of people in front of the airport and that was impossible to get there.Mohammad
Weld and a fellow veteran he served with on the same team in the Zabul province are now calling all their contacts, trying desperately to get Mohammad and his family the correct documentation they need to get out of Afghanistan as the Taliban issues more warnings to the people.
The Taliban warn the people and they announced on social media that they are not allowing people to go to the airport.Mohammad
Mohammad also told Weld that they are allowing people with documents into the airport. He also said the U.S. Embassy is calling Afghans when it is their time to leave.
Weld said this process is sad and difficult. Right now he’s just using every resource and contact he has.
That is going to be our deadline, largely in part because that’s what the Taliban said the deadline was going to be and that is the most frustrating thing is that we are the United States of America. Did we need to leave Afghanistan? Absolutely. I spent almost a year of my life there, but do we need to just follow a deadline that has been set by the Taliban and they won’t agree to an extension, so we just throw our hands up and say that’s the deadline we go with? It’s inappropriate.Ryan Weld, Veteran, West Virginia State Senator
Weld told 7News this type of grassroots effort isn’t unique, that it’s probably happening all over the country, where other veterans who served with Afghans are now trying to help them get out of the country. Weld added it’s just difficult because there’s no one way for all of them to channel what they’re trying to do.
For now, he just keeps making calls and trying to help Mohammad.
On Wednesday, Weld also gave 7News information about another person he and his fellow veterans worked with and are trying to get out of Afghanistan. Their name is Zalmai, and in messages told Weld a family member was killed by the Taliban.
Stay with 7News for any updates.