"Don't forget me here": U.S. left behind Afghan interpreter who once helped rescue ... Joe Biden

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Don’t take it personally, Mohammed. He left behind Americans too.

If he’d betray our own citizens after promising to stay until everyone was out, surely he’d betray an Afghan to whom he owes a personal debt.

According to the WSJ, the U.S. government bears only indirect responsibility for failing to evacuate this guy. He applied for a SIV and evidently had sterling credentials but got caught in red tape after the defense contractor for whom he worked lost his employment records. That’s not the Biden administration’s fault. But it is the Biden’s administration fault that the evacuations didn’t begin months earlier, as that might have allowed enough time to resolve the snafu and get him to safety.

In fact, the Journal claims that Mohammed made it to the airport and that U.S. troops were prepared to evacuate him — but only him, not his wife and children. Why?

“Hello Mr. President: Save me and my family,” Mohammed, who asked not to use his full name while in hiding, told The Wall Street Journal as the last Americans flew out of Kabul on Monday. “Don’t forget me here.”…

Mohammed was a 36-year-old interpreter for the U.S. Army in 2008 when two U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopters made an emergency landing in Afghanistan during a blinding snowstorm. On board were three U.S. senators: Mr. Biden, the Delaware Democrat, John Kerry, (D., Mass.) and Chuck Hagel, (R., Neb.).

As a private security team with the former firm Blackwater and U.S. Army soldiers monitored for any nearby Taliban fighters, the crew sent out an urgent call for help. At Bagram Air Field, Mohammed jumped in a Humvee with a Quick Reaction Force from the 82nd Airborne Division and drove hours into the nearby mountains to rescue them…

Now, Mohammed is in hiding. “I can’t leave my house,” he said on Tuesday. “I’m very scared.”

The helicopter in 2008 went down just 10 miles from where the 82nd Airborne had engaged and killed a few dozen Taliban one day earlier. Biden, Kerry, and Hagel were potentially in serious danger if the troops and their interpreter hadn’t been able to get to them as soon as they did. That wasn’t the extent of Mohammed’s service to America either: He had glowing recommendations for a visa from one U.S. officer (“His selfless service to our military men and women is just the kind of service I wish more Americans displayed”) while another vet who had worked with him urged the U.S. government, “If you can only help one Afghan, choose [Mohammed].”

He’ll be lucky now if he doesn’t end up hanging from a lamppost.

The Free Beacon has news today about that fateful failure to start evacuations sooner, by the way. Under federal law, the White House was supposed to brief Congress before reducing U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan below 2,000 about the potential consequences of such a move. If Team Joe had done that this summer, it might have drawn some pushback from members concerned about the Afghan army not being able to operate without sufficient American support. But Team Joe didn’t do that. Biden waived the requirement for briefing Congress, presumably because it might have drawn pushback about the Afghans not being able to last without U.S. logistical help. Biden wanted out by 9/11 and didn’t want anything slowing him down, including minor matters like being sure that the whole country wouldn’t collapse in a week, making the removal of people like Mohammed impossible.

National security experts and Republican lawmakers told the Washington Free Beacon that the waiver blocked Congress and the public from reviewing the administration’s internal national security assessments prior to the withdrawal—details that could have been used to prevent or minimize the catastrophe currently unfolding in the war-torn country.

“If we had answers to these questions we might not be in the horrible debacle we’re in now,” said Bradley Bowman, senior director of the Center on Military and Political Power at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who in April wrote about the statute and the likelihood that the administration would try to dodge it.

“I think the fact that they used the national security waiver to refuse to answer these questions in the light of day tells me their answers could not have stood up to scrutiny,” Bowman said.

Imagine the Q&A. “Let me get this straight: You want to abandon Bagram, then evacuate everyone?” What would Milley and Austin have said?

Oh well. Biden will have to live with this now:

Americans don’t agree on much anymore but “Has Biden done a good job on withdrawal?” is momentarily a 27/71(!) proposition, with even Democrats split 43/55(!!). It’s reassuring that we can come together in these divided times and agree that the administration sh*t the bed this month in Afghanistan. Incidentally, the same Pew poll finds Democrats still solidly behind withdrawal, 70/27, but Republicans now solidly against it, 34/64. Add that to the growing pile of evidence that the “end endless wars” MAGA chatter under Trump was just sloganeering aimed at keeping the party unified behind its leader. With Trump gone, Republicans are either reverting to their hawkish ways or indulging their partisan instincts of wanting to do the opposite of whatever the Democratic president is currently trying to do.