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Team 11 working to keep America's promise to Afghans


The last remaining U.S. troops departed Afghanistan August 30, 2021. An estimated 124,000 citizens had been airlifted out of the country by that date, according to the Biden administration. It was a tumultuous scene seared in the minds of so many onlookers from around the world that ostensibly ended America’s 20-year occupation of the region.

Many were happy to see military service members come home and the war conclude. The worst appeared over for the U.S., but the atrocities Afghan citizens had experienced for two decades could not be undone. Worse yet, those remaining in Afghanistan were now staring down the barrel of brutal oppression and persecution at the hands of the Islamic State. Among those trapped in the country are countless Afghans who devoted years assisting U.S. troops with vital tasks such as bomb detection or translation services.

The tragedy of Afghanistan cannot be overstated. Blame can be placed at the feet of many powerful people, including both Republican and Democratic presidents. Biden, to his credit, ended years of buck-passing and made good on his word to withdraw troops. The withdrawal itself was hardly a success, however. The U.S.’s antiquated, onerous Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program let thousands slip through the cracks. Finally, at least 200 Afghans and 13 American military personnel were killed when an Islamic State extremist detonated a bomb at Hamid Karzai Airport on August 26.

In the face of many failures made by our government over many years, a range of former military personnel and every day Americans are attempting to help where bureaucrats have failed. One of the most notable examples, which we hope to bring attention to during Doug’s campaign for Congress, is Save Team 11. Elinor Kasza, mother to one of the U.S. Army Special Forces members who founded Save Team 11, reached out to Doug White’s campaign recently and we are honored to be able to share her story.

The non-profit organization’s namesake, Team 11, is a group of Afghan soldiers who worked side-by-side with Tom Kasza’s U.S. Special Forces team. For years Team 11 saved American lives through their expertise in identifying and disarming improvised explosive devices. Notwithstanding the members’ devotion to keeping U.S. personnel alive, most Team 11 members haven’t made it out of Afghanistan. Our government owes people like Team 11 a guarantee of safety, if nothing else.

Kasza’s group, Save Team 11, is largely focused on pressuring the U.S. State Department to reform and expedite the SIV process. As Doug has written previously, our immigration system sorely needs change, and the abandonment of Team 11 members is just one more example why.

Team 11 is comprised of Hazaras — an ethnic minority that faces an even greater threat from the Taliban. Kasza’s campaign has crowdfunded enough money to feed and house them this winter, the group says the need for more resources is “dire”. We ask of those who can, to consider donating to Save Team 11’s campaign to protect these selfless individuals and make lasting change in our country’s immigration policies.

For too long the U.S. government has failed to protect those who protected our troops. It is my belief there is perhaps no more deserving group than the Hazara members of Team 11. With the help of caring citizens like you, Save Team 11 can help our country live up to its obligations and harbor these heroes from the predations of the Taliban. We are honored to be able to use the Doug White 4 Congress campaign to bring attention to this harrowing story.

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