By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
We have been told that everything is all hunky-dory in Afghanistan since our exasperating exit beginning last summer, and the only ones who believe that are the Spinners, and I don’t mean the cool R&B group that started in 1954. There have been tales of daring and successful missions conducted by civilians, former military members, and others; of course, we don’t hear about that from Lester Holt or Norah O’Donnell. It is estimated that there are still 450 Americans trapped in Afghanistan, let alone the Afghanis of all faiths and political persuasions who are in grave danger from the Taliban.
So let me tell you the story of an Afghani-American U.S. soldier who for obvious reasons must remain anonymous, and to date has snuck more than 30 people out of Afghanistan. With great affection I have nicknamed him the Lone Liberator. All by himself, but with people backing him unseen, he has gone in and out of Afghanistan alone on foot and has walked people out on foot into Pakistan. He will be the first to tell you that he has received no support from our government for doing what should have been done in the first place. Shocker.
The Lone Liberator came here as a teen and arrived literally the day before 9/11. He came for the right reasons, and did the right things including finishing school and enlisting in the Army. He served honorably, became a citizen, and is passionate about his patriotism. “They say on the news there is no U.S. soldier in Afghanistan,” the former staff sergeant said on a blurred video interview conducted by Fox News. “But I’m here, and I’ll help as long as it takes.” Officially, he was medically discharged due to traumatic brain injuries, but he still, as most members of the military do, sees himself as someone who will forever belong to a group and a mission much larger than himself. “I’m a proud American soldier,” he said, and added “I’ve taken an oath, and I’ll never forget that oath.”
The Lone Liberator had family in Kabul who had to hide from the Taliban when they took over the city in August. If the Taliban had been able to find them, God only knows what would have happened. There was one attempt to get them out that went sideways, but I am happy to report that all of them, including a relative who is a journalist, a woman, and is outspoken against the Taliban made it out. The thing is, they only have 28 days to stay in Pakistan before they will be deported and sent back to Afghanistan and certain death.
The Lone Liberator did not go back to Afghanistan just to get his family. He has rescued Christians, Hazaras, recently converted Catholics, and one Christian family of 10; all of whom have walked out to safety.
Recently, the Lone Liberator was caught by the Taliban. They thought he was smuggling cigarettes into the country, and he let them think that. They gave him seven lashes and partially turned his back into hamburger. One of our Special Forces medical guys helped him get the care he needed, and he is on the mend. If I knew of a specific crowd sourcing campaign for the efforts of the Lone Liberator, I would tell you, but I don’t. So, praying for the mission is the order of the day. Join me, won’t you?
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner