Two elderly Californians have escaped Afghanistan after spending two weeks being “harassed and intimidated” by the Taliban, Rep. Darrell Issa said.
“This is a cause for celebration and the result of almost countless hours of work under very difficult conditions. Our team simply would not give up, and today it paid off and we got them home,” Issa (R-Calif.) said of the couple, who are in their 80s, in a statement released on Wednesday.
Issa said the couple, who are not being identified to protect family members still in Afghanistan from reprisals by the jihadist group, attempted to leave Kabul for weeks but “were harassed and intimidated” at Taliban checkpoints “blocking their efforts to board a plane home.”
The couple’s granddaughter, whose name is being withheld, contacted Issa’s district office and his staffers began the work to bring them home.
Issa’s office said it has helped 33 constituents flee Afghanistan since the Taliban seized control last month as the Biden administration pulled US forces out of the country, ending America’s involvement in the 20-year war.
“While we have made extraordinary progress, but we’re not stopping until everyone comes home,” he said in the statement.
Issa, who represents the San Diego area, accused the Biden administration of stranding the couple.
“I represent two incredibly brave American citizens stranded in Afghanistan. They are both more than 80 years old. I can guarantee President Biden they did not wish to stay behind. They were left behind,” Issa posted on Twitter Aug. 31 when the US completed its withdrawal.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken in congressional testimony this week said about 100 Americans remain in Afghanistan.