“My four children are now all safe,” Suneeta told CNN on August 28, as they were being air-evacuated from Kabul. Suneeta did not want her name or her children’s names published because of understandable safety concerns.
Her husband had worked with U.S. troops prior to his disappearance in Afghanistan eight years ago. His fate remains unknown.
When Taliban fighters re-took Kabul and claimed control of Afghanistan last week, Suneeta told CNN, the mission to rescue her children became critically urgent. All were under 18 years old and the youngest was 7.
A remarkable rescue effort
According to reports by August 29, the U.S. had evacuated 114,000 people, mostly Afghan, via Kabul international airport. More were aiming to make it before the closure of the airport by the Taliban on August 31.
Among heroes in the evacuation of Suneeta’s kids
Suneeta’s nights were understandably sleepless, she recalled. The help of Sara Lowry, a staff attorney for the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, proved to be lifesaving.
As Christina Maxouris of CNN put it, there was help from “a long and complicated patchwork” of volunteers on the ground in Afghanistan, strangers inspired by a host of news accounts, including those about Suneeta’s children. Among the heroes: U.S. government staff and volunteers at Kabul’s international airport.
The final days before the Kabul shutdown
So far, it’s impossible to determine where all of Suneeta’s kids are today, but four of them made it aboard one of the last U.S.-bound rescue planes to Dulles International Airport. CNN quoted their mother who expressed gratitude to all who helped to ensure that her children are now alive and safe.
The latest reports are that the U. S. evacuated 123,000 people from Afghanistan since the end of July, among them more than 5,400 Americans. The total number of others rescued likely will never be known, including those fortunate souls now safely resettling in Europe, Africa, and Asia, as well as the U. S.
As a 36-year veteran of the Voice of America (VOA), Alan Heil traveled to more than 40 countries a foreign correspondent in the Middle East, and later as director of News and Current Affairs, deputy director of programs, and deputy director of the nation’s largest publicly-funded overseas multimedia network. Today, VOA reaches more than 275 million people around the world each week via radio, television and online media. Read More