Rep. Slotkin says her team helped evacuate 114 Afghan nationals from Kabul

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin tweeted late Friday that after an intense 10-days her team successfully evacuated 114 Afghan nationals from Kabul, most with ties to Michigan.

Slotkin, a Holly Democrat and a former top Pentagon official in the Obama administration, said more than 70 of the evacuees were affiliated with Michigan State University, another 30 were former deputy ministers, staff and military officers of the former Afghan government.

She tweeted that those aided out of Kabul "were being threatened and hunted by the Taliban."

Most of these Afghan nationals were flown Friday evening to Albania, where, "thanks to the generosity of the Albanian government and the expeditious work of diplomats, they will be staying for the foreseeable future," she said.

Slotkin said after years of working in war zones, it was one of her proudest moments.

"There are simply no words to convey the pain of running from your own country," she tweeted. "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. In the hardest of moments, I feel I have seen the best of American ingenuity & grit."

She thanked her former colleague Yuri Kim, a U.S. Ambassador in Albania, who aided in the relocation of these Afghan nationals to Albania on exceedingly short notice.

Over the next few days, she and her team plan to continue to safely evacuate as many Afghan nationals as possible. 

"Not all will get out, which is heartbreaking," she tweeted. "As the world witnessed yesterday, this mission is fraught with danger, and our entire nation grieves the loss of the 13 U.S. service members killed in the line of duty, helping others."

Slotkin said her staff worked around the clock to make the evacuation happen, including connecting to a broad network of people around the world who felt the fear victims may face having served in Afghanistan. She thanked American and Australian military forces operating in the U.S., Afghanistan, Qatar and Albania.

She went on to thank Herbert Raymond McMaster, a retired United States Army lieutenant general, and network of former service members who helped get groups of people onto buses and safely to the airport after 23 hours of anxiously waiting outside the gates, she said.

Two other members of Congress, Reps. Peter Meijer, R-Grand Rapids Township, and Seth Moulton, D-Mass., flew in on a charter aircraft and were on the ground at the Kabul airport on Tuesday in the middle of the ongoing chaotic evacuation.

In a joint statement, Meijer and Moulton said they traveled to Kabul to "conduct oversight" on the mission to evacuate Americans and allies.

Twitter: @SarahRahal_