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A LETTER FROM OUR BOARD PRESIDENT

Our helping Afghan families may not change the world,

but it will change the world for those families we support and rescue…


Over the nearly twenty years we spent in Afghanistan,

  • around 700,000 American service members were deployed to fight against terrorism in Central Asia.

  • around 2,400 sadly gave their lives and

  • over 20,000 American service members were injured. (Not counting our partner country (NATO) numbers,

  • Many of those injured, will endure hardships the rest of their lives. In addition,

  • around 3,800 other agency and civilian contractors lost their lives.

  • Along with their sacrifices, over 66,000 Afghan Security Forces lost their lives…

  • Between 2 and 3 million refugees have fled Afghanistan.

         

We Made Promises

During these two decades, tens of thousands of Afghans and their families were promised “Special Immigration Visa” status if they supported our National Interests. A majority still remain in Afghanistan and all are at risk of torture, loss of life and limb.


There are also, many family members of American citizens still left behind. Two of our charity Board members have family awaiting State Department permissions and rescue.


 Our Success Rate

Since the August 2021 United States withdrawal and evacuation from Afghanistan, we continue our networking and collaboration with multiple Congressional Representatives, State Department Immigration Offices, Embassies and Afghan rescue organizations. To date, we have been a part of the collaborative efforts rescuing one American civilian and around thirty Afghan interpreters and family members. 


Experience

I have a personal connection with the people of Afghanistan. Multiple deployments placed me in combat Units as an embedded Afghan Army trainer in Helmand Province, then establishing Afghan Police Forces within the Kabul Province. I concluded my time as a contractor for the Department of Defense in Kabul within the intelligence training community.


Why I Care So Deeply

I gained a number of perspectives and revelations during this time building relationships, working and living with the Afghan people.


First, we both celebrated an Independence Day from the British. Theirs being August 19th and ours July 4th, we together celebrated both… This made our British cousins feel a bit uncomfortable, but they laughed and cried along with us in celebration and remembrance of our histories.


We need to continue to remind those who forget the past, are doomed to repeat their mistakes in the future…


Secondly, and like us, the Afghan people love their families and wish, hope, and pray for a better future for their children. I realized this while living amongst them visiting their schools, hospitals and villages with those I mentored.


Trust was Broken

Now, I worry what will come of my friends, Brothers-in-arms, and their families for believing in our freedoms and the hope for a better life… My former teammates and I personally know of those left behind who have, and will be part of the continued collateral damage due to broken promises.


My Team and I were There!

During that fateful month of August 2021, we watched Kabul and the airport prepare for withdrawal and evacuation. We received daily, sometimes hourly, reports of raw intelligence information. We all were in pain and anguish over what we knew was to come.


This was almost a hostage situation for both those inside and outside the Kabul airport gates. During this time, much of our dealings and communication with the State Department, Embassy staff (as they evacuated the US Embassy in Kabul), and military inside the airport were inconsistent and confusing…


The Conundrum

With thousands of people surrounding each gate, limited options were available for prioritizing American citizens, Special Immigration Visa (SIV) holders and their families for evacuation over the frightened masses storming the airport. Consequently, we believed thousands were left behind who rightfully deserved evacuation.


Our Solution – Life Support

Your tax-deductible donation and supporting our events will provide, sustain, and rescue Afghan families left behind as they endure the arduous journey of obtaining a positive outcome and rescue.


In Kabul’s collapsed economy, we are:

  • funding flights once approved

  • providing food, winter clothing, and housing

  • AND maintaining their communication with our network through funding cellular phone and internet services.


These are critical needs that with each passing day and season, continue to worsen. Due to the collapse of the former government, there are over twenty million Afghan people at risk of starvation. 


Please help our just cause

Col, US Army, (Ret) Mark Lisle Rathburn

Board President

Supporting Afghan Families, Inc.