On Tuesday, former CIA Director General David Petraeus appeared on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom,” He compared Biden’s mishandling of the Afghanistan crisis to the disastrous evacuation at Dunkirk.
Dunkirk involved a last-minute rescue of over 300,000 Allied soldiers who were trapped by the Nazis near the beaches of Dunkirk, France in the summer of 1940.
The Allied soldiers trapped at Dunkirk consisted mainly of British and French troops. Their rescue from what seemed to be almost certain doom was due to a hastily-conceived evacuation plan. This plan was carried out by the British military and civilians alike. Many ordinary British civilians chose to risk their lives by sailing fishing boats, personal yachts, and other types of boats across the English Channel where they picked up trapped soldiers and returned them safely to Britain.
Petraeus told the Fox News hosts that the Trump administration’s February 2020 agreement with the Taliban was “disastrous and flawed,” but the Biden administration had a chance to fix it before proceeding with a withdrawal of American forces.
Now, Daily Mail is reporting that a group of veterans that includes “hundreds of thousands of people” has joined forces to help Afghan interpreters (the “eyes and ears on the battlefield”) to be evacuated from Afghanistan by utilizing satellite imagery and other intel to locate Taliban checkpoints.
The militant group, who now rules the country, is targeting the interpreters and has ordered them to be shot.
Matt Zeller, an Afghanistan war veteran, and former CIA analyst told Fox News the interpreters were essential allies to U.S. troops, serving as America’s ‘eyes and ears on the battlefield.’
According to Zeller, the ‘digital Dunkirk’ campaign started as an army of veterans but has not grown to include hundreds of thousands of individuals from all backgrounds who want to help the translators evacuate safely.
‘It’s incredible,’ he said. ‘It’s not just veterans. Literally, it’s pastors; it’s my mom, it’s my relatives, people who have never served in Afghanistan … widows, widowers, children of people who served.’
‘We’ve had intel analysts who have come and started doing satellite imagery analysis and actually putting together products for people where they’re mapping out Taliban checkpoints in real-time using social media data to provide safe routes to the airport,’ Zeller explained.
He said he spends the majority of his nighttime communicating with interpreters sharing the latest checkpoint locations.
‘I’m spending most of my nighttime texting with Afghans, telling them ‘no, this is the gate you now got to try and get to. Oh, well here’s where this Taliban checkpoint is, you gotta take this street to literally get around them,” Zeller said.
The Taliban has reportedly said they would ‘forgive’ any Afghans who aided the U.S. during the war, however, according to Zeller, the group has been stopping people at checkpoints and either ‘recording or killing’ anyone that has ‘allied against them’.
‘If you have an English document on you in that checkpoint, they take that document,’ Zeller stated.
‘And they make note that you’re now on their list.’
The former CIA analyst explained that the Taliban is actively seeking vengeance.
‘From the Taliban’s perspective, they won. [The Afghan interpreters] are the people who have been helping us to kill them over the last 20 years,’ Zeller said.
‘They want revenge, they want retribution. There’s no place for these people in Afghanistan.’
The veteran also expressed his disappointment in the Biden Administration, arguing that the U.S. has an obligation to evacuate the interpreters.
‘If they aren’t evacuated now, then they’re gonna be dead, and we’ll regret for the rest of our lives having failed them,’ Zeller told Fox News.
He called out Biden saying: ‘the campaign to evacuate the interpreters is a whole of America effort … minus the one guy, the only guy, who can give the order to actually truly save these people.’
He also singled out the secretary of defense, arguing: ‘I was appalled that the secretary of defense said he didn’t have the ability to guarantee the safe movement of Americans to the airport in Kabul. He absolutely does.’
‘He has the United States military. What he doesn’t have is the orders to move those people.’