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Maine Vets for Afghans

Maine Vets for Afghans






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Pass the Afghan
Adjustment Act Now

Maine Veterans Mark Veteran's Day by Calling on Congress
to Pass the Afghan Adjustment Act Now

For Immediate Release: November 7, 2022

Press Inquiries Contact:

Maine - Since the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban in August 2021, Maine veterans have been working tirelessly and around the clock to rescue and aid Afghan allies whose lives are on the line in Afghanistan, and to assist and support the hundreds who have arrived in Maine following the evacuation. A central part of their work is calling on Maine’s Congressional delegation to support the Afghan Adjustment Act (AAA). This crucial legislation will help hundreds of Afghan allies in Maine – and tens of thousands throughout the United States – to begin rebuilding their lives, safeguard U.S. national security, and take some key steps in assisting at-risk Afghan allies who were not able to escape Afghanistan and remain in grave danger due to their alliance with the U.S.

Following calls from Maine’s veterans, Representatives Pingree and Golden and Senator King stand in support. Senator Collins has yet to join. The Afghan Adjustment Act has Bipartisan support in both the House and Senate and is endorsed by the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Team America Relief, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), Student Veterans of America, and every other major veterans organization in the country.

Ahead of Veterans’ Day, Maine’s Veterans and
Afghan Allies issue the following statements:

Chief Warrant Officer 5 (Ret.) John Friberg, Army Special Forces, Norway: “Every day that passes without the Afghan Adjustment Act being law, our allies here in Maine are in limbo, uncertain what will happen to them. In Afghanistan, those who stood and fought beside us are hunted down, beaten, imprisoned, or killed. There is not a moment to wait. On Veterans’ Day, we are calling on all of Maine’s members of Congress to stand with Maine’s Veterans and support the Afghan Adjustment Act.”

Rasheed Hemat*, Former Afghan Air Force Helicopter Pilot in Maine: “I am a former member of the Afghan Air Force trained by the United States military. When my country was being overtaken by the Taliban, I was part of a group of pilots who, in an effort to keep the helicopters out of the hands of the Taliban and save our lives, flew our aircraft to a neighboring country. Many of my fellow Air Force pilots and crews remain in Afghanistan, in danger and in hiding. I need a path to permanent residence in the United States and my Air Force colleagues need a way out of Afghanistan and to safety.”

Lieutenant Commander Brian deLutio, U.S. Navy Ret., Scarborough: “Passing the Afghan Adjustment Act is a matter of national security. If we fail to do the bare minimum for our allies now – which is passing the Afghan Adjustment Act – we will not have the trust or support of local partners in future conflicts. It will cost us intel and American lives. We counted on our Afghan allies for twenty years and told them if they stood with us we would protect them. Now we must fulfill the promises we made.”

Mohammad*, Former Afghan Air Force Officer in Maine: I am a former Afghan Air Force officer who worked and fought alongside my American military brothers and sisters in Afghanistan for more than a decade. I studied with members of the U.S. military at a United States military master’s program that prepares leadership at the strategic level across the range of coalition military operations that deepened my commitment of support to the U.S. mission in Afghanistan. The American colleagues that I served with became close friends and ultimately saved my life and coordinated my family’s evacuation from Afghanistan in August 2021. Because of my military service, American training, and anti-Taliban public commentary, my family would have been targeted by the Taliban once the U.S. departed. We are grateful to be in Maine where we are trying to rebuild our lives with the help of a wonderful group of Mainers. My children are all educated professionals, and we are hopeful for a prosperous future in Maine with a clear path to be able to stay in the U.S.”

Colonel Jen Fullmer, U.S. Air Force, Ret., Biddeford: “We know our Afghan counterparts, we served beside them, we trust them, and we know what they’ve lost. Many of us are actively engaged in helping them rebuild their lives here in the U.S. and here in Maine. These families have been through hell, lost everything, and they just want to get on with rebuilding their lives, working, contributing to their communities, and securing a safe and hopeful future for their children. Passing the Afghan Adjustment Act to allow Afghan evacuees who are present in the United States to adjust status is a commonsense solution that will immediately remove unnecessary obstacles, create significant savings in government and private resources, and improve national security now and for future conflicts.”

Hoja*, Former Afghan Military Family Member and Employee of U.S.-Backed NGOs: “My father was a high-ranking officer in the Afghan military who worked closely with the U.S. to coordinate attacks on the Taliban. I was a Fulbright Scholar and received a Masters of International Affairs from an American university and returned to Afghanistan to use my education to work on anti-poverty programs. Prior to the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, my family was targeted repeatedly because of our alliances with the United States, and we have paid dearly as my brother was killed as retribution, but we were all just as committed as our American friends and colleagues to triumph over the Taliban. My and my family’s evacuation was facilitated by a retired General and national security professionals who know our family and our ideals - and that we would face near certain death if left behind. With the collapse of our country, we were forced to leave behind all we had worked for and the dreams we had for better days in Afghanistan. We seek peace and stability in the U.S. as we work to rebuild our lives and hope that Congress will provide us with a clear path to long-term security.”

Commander Mike Wisecup, U.S. Navy, Ret., Freeport: “We will be judged in future conflicts by our actions now. Whether we will have the support and resources we need to keep American troops safe is being determined right now. Our Afghan allies stood shoulder to shoulder with us for twenty years – two decades. We must provide those evacuated to the U.S. with a straightforward path to green cards and assist them with rebuilding their lives. What we do or don’t do now will not be forgotten.”

Abdul*, SIV-Pending Afghan Interpreter Stuck in Afghanistan: “I worked as an interpreter for U.S. special operations forces for several years and applied for a SIV in 2020. The application process is bureaucratic and slow even with the help provided by U.S. veterans. I am living in hiding because I have received threats of imprisonment and death from the Taliban. My family and I no longer live in our home, relying on refuge from family and friends. A volunteer veteran organization has been assisting with food purchases until my SIV application is finally approved and I can travel to the U.S. with my family.”

*Name changed to protect safety

Available to provide national perspective and additional information regarding the position of and AAA endorsement by The American Legion:

Lawrence Montreuil**
Legislative Director
The American Legion
1608 K St. NW, Washington D.C. 2006

** Served in Afghanistan as a Foreign Military Advisor with the Afghan National Army in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.



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