An Afghan American couple made it past Taliban and U.S. security checkpoints late Wednesday night with the aid of Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, who has repeatedly offered his help to Americans and translators caught in the country.
The couple, who live in the Washington, D.C., area, was visiting Afghanistan for a wedding but became trapped when the country fell to the Taliban, The New York Times (NYT) reported. After repeatedly failing to reach the airport, they reached out to Cotton’s office, which gave them the name of a military contact at Hamid Karzai International Airport.
Large crowds have amassed outside the airport, from where the U.S. is operating its embassy. The Taliban has set up checkpoints, preventing Americans and cleared Afghans from reaching the airport. “Pushing through the crowd was like killing yourself,” the wife reportedly said. (RELATED: 7 Killed In Kabul Airport As Chaos Ensues. Flights Suspended, Then Restarted)
The couple requested that the NYT not name them until they exited the country. They will leave on a flight with American citizens and Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders, who are often former military translators, contractors, or others who aided Americans in-country.
Cotton was one of the first members of Congress to publicize his help for stranded Americans, telling The Washington Post on Monday that he had heard from at least 100 Americans.
If you’re an American stranded in Afghanistan, or know one who is, please contact my office immediately:
(501) 223-9081 or
The situation is dire, but we’ll do everything in our power to help keep you informed and to help get you out.
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) August 15, 2021
In response to Cotton publicizing his office’s assistance, Media Matters for America CEO Angelo Carusone tweeted, “Imagine being trapped in Afghanistan in this moment..and thinking best person to call is Tom Cotton of all people.”
Imagine being trapped in Afghanistan in this moment..and thinking best person to call is Tom Cotton of all people.
Honestly, if someone’s in that situation where Tom Cotton is the only number they can call, they’d be better off just calling NYC’s 311. I mean really. Tom Cotton. https://t.co/IHR3GhIdLK
— Angelo Carusone (@GoAngelo) August 16, 2021
Carusone did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment.
Republicans and Democrats alike have been fielding calls from constituents who are either trapped in Afghanistan or have friends and colleagues who remain in-country. More than 10,000 Americans are trapped in Afghanistan, according to a State Department estimate, and more than 80,000 SIV holders are still in-country.
Republican New York Rep. Nicole Malliotakis slammed the State Department’s response to the crisis, describing it to the Daily Caller as “disorderly” and “very unsatisfactory.”
The U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan allegedly destroyed passports in its possession, Democratic New Jersey Rep. Andy Kim is telling constituents who reach out for help. Kim also set up an evacuation line to aid Americans and SIV holders.