A U.S. Army veteran, desperate to evacuate his family from Afghanistan, said the Taliban will behead his relatives, who the extremist group has beaten and attacked over the years.
The local Taliban commanders “in Kabul, they know me by name,” the former staff sergeant, an Afghan national, told Fox News in an interview.
“They have been inside my house last week, sometime in this past week,” he continued, noting that there are photos there of him in his uniform. “My family is already in hiding.”
The veteran told Fox News he would “die” if it meant he could get his family out of the country. In a follow-up email, he called on President Biden to bring in enough support to rescue civilians like his family or “step side and let another make the tough decisions.”
“Do not betray us,” he wrote.
FORMER AFGHAN INTERPRETER: ‘I SERVED ONE-THIRD OF MY LIFE, NOW I’M NOT EVEN ABLE TO SAVE MY OWN FAMILY’
The veteran said the Taliban left a note detailing information about him and his niece, a journalist and activist who was openly critical of the extremist group. She and other family members had also worked with the Afghanistan government.
Fox News is granting the veteran and his family anonymity to prevent the Taliban from obtaining additional information about them. He said some details the extremist group has are inaccurate.
The former staff sergeant, who came to the U.S. as a refugee days before 9/11, hopes he can get his family to America. But the evacuation process has already begun to slow as the troops prepare to depart Afghanistan by Aug. 31.
To the Taliban, “I’m a traitor,” the veteran, who said he was discharged after suffering from traumatic brain injuries, told Fox News. “I am an apostate, and so is my family because of my affiliation with the U.S. government.”
“My whole family will be beheaded” if the Taliban finds them, he said.
His niece, the journalist, has been changing her location daily to hide from the Taliban after they barred her from the newsroom. The former staff sergeant said they walked her out of the building at gunpoint.
“If they find me, they will kill me,” the journalist previously told Fox News.
Her uncle said the Taliban first learned his identity not long after he joined the U.S. Army in 2007 and attacked his immediate family because of his affiliation.
“They shot at my house,” the veteran told Fox News. “My family fired back at them until the police showed up.”
“Some time later, they dropped a firebomb at my house, and it destroyed half of our house completely,” he continued.
“This might have not happened if I had chosen to do something else,” the veteran told Fox News. “But I’m not ashamed. I’m proud to be an American staff sergeant. I would do it again and again.”
The staff sergeant said it was “embarrassing” “to show up on an American news network with my face blurred.”
“I’m not afraid of the Taliban, but I am really scared for what these guys will do to my family,” he told Fox News, calling the Taliban “barbarians.”
Years after the group first attacked his family, “they caught my sister right outside of our house, and they beat her bloody,” the former staff sergeant told Fox News. “They punched her. They kicked her.”
He said his brother, who worked for the Afghan government, rushed out to save her, but the Taliban then beat him.
“The Taliban beat him really bad,” the veteran said. “They hurt this hand and they hurt his leg. He limps still to this day.”
While his sister was able to flee to the U.S. not long after the beating, her husband, a doctor, has been stuck in Afghanistan despite having a U.S. visa, the veteran said.
“And in this past week, he made three attempts to reach the airport,” the former staff sergeant told Fox News. “And his second attempt, he was beaten. He had to go to the hospital.”
He said he blames the Taliban for the attacks Thursday, which he said killed an associate, even though they were pinned on an ISIS affiliate,
Two explosions, one near the Kabul airport and another near a hotel previously used as a rally point for evacuees, killed 13 U.S. service members and more than 100 Afghans.
“If there’s anyone out there that can help my family, I’m in dire need of help,” the veteran told Fox News. “I’ll do whatever it takes. If I have to die, I will die.”