WASHINGTON – The first batch of Afghan pilots to fly safely with them and their family members on an Afghan Air Force plane in Uzbekistan were transferred to a US military base in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday. One of them is in a relationship with the pilot and his wife.
Two more groups of Afghan pilots and their relatives are expected to fly the next day under an agreement between the US and Uzbekistan to transfer more than 450 Afghans.
Afghan pilots, viewed by the Taliban as one of the most reprehensible members of the Afghan army for their role in carrying out air strikes against Taliban fighters, have been caught in fragile diplomatic ropes since they fled Kabul’s government last month. .
Taliban leaders are urging the Uzbek government to return the pilots who fear for their safety and their families. For its part, the United States has relied on Uzbekistan to keep their promise to free Afghans and ensure the safe passage of vital members of the Afghan army fighting alongside the United States.
Since 2010, the Department of Defense has allocated more than $8.5 billion to building a strong and resilient Afghan Air Force and special mission wing.
Former US soldiers, many of whom have been trained and served by Afghan pilots and their support teams, and members of Congress are working with the State Department to arrange transfers to US bases in the Middle East. And finally to the United States.
“I’m so glad you left, but it’s not an easy process,” Pfluger, a Texas Republican and former U.S. Air Force F-22 pilot, said in a telephone interview. “Pilots are the deadliest part of the Afghan army and it is very important for us to do everything we can to protect them.”
Mr Pfluger said he joined as a voter married to an Afghan pilot and contacted his office. Gatak, Jerry, a US citizen, meets the pilot during training at Lakland Air Force Base, San Antonio.
Jerry said her husband sent her a message on Sunday afternoon saying she had landed at Abu Dhabi International Airport after spending nearly a month in Uzbekistan. He said there were about 175 people on board.
“I feel much better,” said Jerry, a 33-year-old hairdresser from San Angelo, Texas, who declined to give his full name for fear of reprisals against family members of her husband who live in Kabul. “I haven’t felt this relief in a long time.”
Jerry said it was unclear when her husband would be able to enter the United States. The last time he spoke, he said he was being tested for the coronavirus and was waiting for the results.