How one Afghan family escaped the Taliban

It’s been a year since the chaotic end of America’s war in Afghanistan, and it doesn’t look better to look back at Elliot Ackerman: “It was the collapse of American morality and how we treat our allies. ,” They said. “It was a collapse of American capability, our ability to carry out this mission.”

For Ackerman, who served four combat tours in Afghanistan (with both the Marines and the CIA), the collapse was also personal. “All of a sudden, I’m back in the war. I felt like I had given up on the war.”

He stayed away from war for a decade while earning a living as a writer. Now he has written a book called “The Fifth Act” (published August 9 by Penguin Press) about America’s longest war.

CBS News national security correspondent David Martin asked, “Five acts. The tragedy of Shakespeare?”

“You have Bush, Obama, Trump, Biden, and the fifth act, the sect, is the Taliban,” Ackerman said.

The Taliban had overtaken the world’s biggest superpower and was seeking revenge on Afghans who sided with the Americans. A war that had begun before the iPhone even existed was fueled by an endless stream of viral videos. “Through your phone you could hear the collective voices of all the Afghans who believed in us, shouting for help,” Ackerman said.

Therefore, he became part of a digital network of veterans working to drive out Afghans. “I was involved in those efforts that, you know, probably dropped out to over 200 people.”

American troops had taken control of the airport in Kabul, and the Afghans slammed the gates, looking for any, to let the guards pass and board a plane.

Ackerman said, “It would be the equivalent of going to a Rolling Stones concert and walking back and having the band call you on stage.” “You had to get to know someone in the band.”

Or someone in the Marines who guards the gates. Ackerman’s network sent him photographs with arrows, with hand-drawn signs looking for specific Afghans. Most of them were strangers. They were all desperate.

Like the man Ackerman calls “Aziz.” He once worked for the US government and is now sending a sad voice message about his fear of the Taliban:

“Bless, sir… please do something for us. Please save my kids. … We don’t want to be caught by the Taliban because they are looking everywhere, this place, ghar ghar, gali gali, dekhte are for us.

“All the families are in a very bad situation. They are very scared. The children are very scared.”

Ackerman said, “How do you ignore such a thing?”

Martin asked, “What did you think the chances were?”

“Low, that we were going to be able to help him. And then the bomb happened at the abbey gate, and it set everything off.”

A suicide bomber slipped into the crowd and 13 Americans and an estimated 170 Afghans killed,

Four days later, the last American soldier took off from Afghanistan. Ackerman could do nothing more than tell Aziz that he was sorry.

“He sent me this text message: ‘You did your best and more. Then you are the hero of our family. I think it’s our privilege to be killed by the Taliban.'”

Then, Ackerman heard about a flight leaving from Mazar-i-Sharif. “It’s halfway north across the country, in the mountains, you know, a long drive.”

He messaged Aziz:

“Please go as soon as possible.”

“OK sir.

“You need to hurry. All flights are leaving today. Hurry up.”

Aziz sent videos of the drive north. He made it to Mazar-i-Sharif in time. “But then,” Ackerman said, “the flight doesn’t go that day, and it doesn’t go the next day, and days and weeks go by, and she’s in a safe house that’s really just a wedding hall. … he’s been in this limbo for about a month. And then one night I found out he had appeared for a flight, and I went to bed” – and to a video sent to him by Aziz Woke up in the morning, who had made it out of Afghanistan with his family and made it to a refugee center in Qatar – finally safe from the Taliban.

“Hello sir how are you?” Aziz said. “I don’t know how to say thank you. But I’m grateful to everyone, every single person in America America, because we never dreamed of it. But their love, their kindness. Thank you, thank you for everything.”

Ackerman said, “I was amazed that after going through that ordeal and seeing how devastating it all was, his impulse was to thank us. And he says, ‘I thank every single American.'”

Aziz now resides in California with his wife and children. “Sunday Morning” is not using his real name, and he did not want to be interviewed on camera because he still has family in Afghanistan.

Ackerman said, “Just because we’ve decided to turn the page as Americans, doesn’t mean the page turns for everyone who is still in Afghanistan, or for all those Afghans. Those who have come to America whose families are still there.”

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