(Plymouth, MA) – Jesse Brown, candidate for Congress in Massachusetts’ Ninth Congressional District, hosted a reporter conference call with Jan [last name withheld to protect his identity], an Afghan National veteran who has been abandoned by the U.S. and is currently in hiding from the Taliban in Kabul. The full audio of the call can be found here and a statement from Brown follows. Jan served in the U.S. allied-Afghan National Army since 2004 and worked with U.S. Special Forces for over a decade as a member of the elite ANA Special Operations Command. During this time, he learned English in order to assist the United States in our objectives there.
On Hiding From The Taliban…
- “I’m in Kabul hiding in some of my relative’s house.” (Start 3:18 End 3:23)
- “When the Taliban took our province, me and my family have been in shock because they took the province in one day.” (Start 6:45 End 6:53)
- “My family is scared. My wife and two daughters are scared a lot and they say, “Daddy the Taliban will kill you or not?” (Start 6:55 End 7:07)
- “We are hiding from home to home and changing our location in a day or two days. During that time the Taliban search house by house to find the people like me, so that was the hardest time.” (Start 7:15 End 7:32)
- “After 17 years I’ve been working for the army, right now I have just like three dollars and…buying some little food to eat to stay alive with my family.” (Start 8:07 End 8:27)
- “We are hopeless right now.” (Start 8:36 End 8:39)
On Why The Government Fell So Easily…
- “It was the corruption and government…if I told you they sold the army, if I told you they sold the whole country – it’s true.” (Start 20:09 End 20:22)
On Helping Americans…
- “I’m not a swagger guy to telling you guys that I saved a lot of American soldiers or helping some American wounded – no I’m not. I did. I did, but for my brothers in arms. I did it for my brothers in fight. These were my brothers. They helped our freedom, they helped my family’s freedom, they helped the peace process in Afghanistan.” (Start 13:49 End 14:22)
On the Kabul Airport…
- “4 days ago me [and] my family, we went to one of the Kabul airport gates. There were a lot of rush, maybe 5,000 of the Afghan peoples…and after showing my documents to the American soldiers, there were no way for me and my family. I’ve seen people dying at the gates…we lost more than 10 guys there.” (Start 14:45 End 15:29)
- “I saw everything by my eyes, and also my daughters see that. She was in shock…and after 24 hours we were just disappointed and came back to home.” (Start 15:50 end 16:08)
On fighting the Taliban…
- “I will tell the truth to the whole world. I’m not scared of dying because the past 17 years I’ve been in a lot of ambush, fighting face-to-face with the Taliban, hand-to-hand also. Sometimes, if I told you, we kick each other and also slap each other – it’s true. (Start 20:24 End 20:48)
- “They seize me many times. Last time it was when they took Kabul, and also they took our unit – I was there. And also they came to our camp. There was a wrong deal from somebody from higher, and we haven’t permission to fight back.” (Start 20:53 End 21:25)
Statement from Jesse Brown:
This morning we heard directly about the plight of one of the thousands of Afghans who for the past two decades have served the United States loyally and at great risk to themselves and their families. Jan’s harrowing personal story of events occurring on the ground in Afghanistan builds on our understanding of the ongoing debacle that has endangered our allies, emboldened our enemies and made a mockery of the United States around the world.
Congressman Keating’s response to this catastrophic operation is typical of his time in Congress – weak, lacking in leadership, and too little, too late. His timid letter asking questions that should have been asked before the operation and that could be answered now simply by watching the news is a deeply inadequate response for a member of two committees responsible for the oversight of these matters.
Instead of flimsy and belated letters and Twitter posts, Keating should call for immediate hearings to hold the administration accountable for this unmitigated disaster, and he must answer why it is possible that a member of the Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committees like himself could be so clueless as to the catastrophe that awaited us.