Advance Notice: Briefs

Slotkin says she helped evacuate more than 100 Afghan nationals

By: - August 30, 2021 12:35 pm

Rep. Elissa Slotkin talks to reporters after her town hall at Oakland University, Dec. 16, 2019 | Laina G. Stebbins

U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) says her team on Friday helped evacuate 114 Afghan nationals from Kabul, over 70 of whom are affiliated with Michigan State University.

“My staff worked around the clock to help make it happen, connecting to a broad and often ragtag network of people around the world who felt the fear of these Afghans and stepped up to help. Many had served in Afghanistan and put their energy and frustrations into getting people out,” Slotkin tweeted late Friday night. 

Slotkin, chair of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism and a former top Pentagon official during the Obama administration, said most of the Afghan nationals were flown to Albania.

Among those evacuated out of Afghanistan include dozens of former deputy ministers, staff and military officers of the former Afghan government who were being “threatened and hunted by the Taliban.”

“In all my years working in war zones, there are few things I’m more proud of than helping these 114 individuals get a new chance at life. There are simply no words to convey the pain of running from your own country. As a Congresswoman whose family, generations ago, left their home countries seeking a better life, I know that there’s no telling what these resilient people will do with this opportunity,” Slotkin tweeted. 

Last week, U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Grand Rapids), who was previously deployed with the Army Reserves and worked in Afghanistan at a nongovernmental organization, flew in and out of the Kabul airport for a highly controversial and unexpected trip along with U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.). The trip received criticism for the lack of coordination with the State Department, Defense Department and the White House. 

President Joe Biden said last week that he is sticking to the Tuesday deadline to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan. 

Slotkin said Friday that her team will continue to try to evacuate Afghan nationals over the next few days, but “not all will get out, which is heartbreaking.”

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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue covers education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.