Rescue of British employees for Sept 2021
A former interpreter for the RAF has been rescued from Afghanistan by an extraction team headed by the Israeli business contractor, Moti Kahana. The mission was paid for by Tzedek, a charity based in Brooklyn and founded by Rabbi Moshe Margaretten, a member of the Skverer Chasidic sect.
The ex-employee, spoken of in glowing terms by RAF personnel, is believed to be the first of a number of Afghans who formerly worked for the British, who will be brought out by GDC, Mr Kahana’s global humanitarian company.
Speaking to the JC this week, the interpreter, who asked not to be named for security reasons, said leaving the Afghan capital of Kabul was “really challenging”, not least because of having to go through a number of Taliban-controlled checkpoints on the way out of the country.
Mr Kahana said it had been “very dangerous” to take the interpreter and his family — his father, brother, wife, two sons and a daughter — out of Afghanistan. “The Taliban were looking for this guy and went to his home. It took about a day to rescue the family and I used one of the best men on my team”.
The man, who has worked for Britain since at least 2003, said he was “feeling pretty safe” now that he was in an unnamed neighbouring country with his family. He said his children, aged nine, six and four, had become “very scared. They were deprived of their education, and we [the adults] lost employment. We were depressed and terrified. We had lost hope. I really love my country, I am passionate about education and cultural exchange, but we were stranded from August 14 and 15 onward. Finally we were evacuated and we made it out”.
It is understood that Mr Kahana and Tzedek were approached by the UK to help with the extraction of a number of former British government employees, because of their success in previous operations. Mr Kahana told the JC that he is currently bringing out around 200 people a day, usually directing operations from his home in America but occasionally, where necessary, flying to one of the neighbouring countries. All his team are local Afghans with whom he has worked for several years, not least in rescuing people from Syria.
The interpreter told the JC that he would be “proud to meet” Mr Kahana who had “played a key role” in bringing his family to safety. Now, he said, he was looking forward to resettling his family in Britain “where my children can enjoy school and we can rebuild our lives”.