Since early August 2021, when the Taliban began taking over province after province, we initiated (with friends from Help the Persecuted) steps to rescue and evacuate former JDA staff and at-risk minority Afghans. The process and the rules for these rescues were constantly changing and all subject to the Taliban rules on the ground. Finding countries willing to accept evacuation flights was extremely complicated. We traveled to Budapest and Athens for meetings in hope that spending time face to face with their governments would open doors for our Afghan evacuees. Unfortunely, all of this activity yielded no results.
During an eight-week period many attempts were made to evacuate our Afghan friends to Qatar, Kosovo, Albania and to the UAE. Finally, on October 20, 2021, we were able to evacuate 568 individuals to the UAE.
Since this successful rescue, we have set up the Grand Valley Resettlement Program with the intent to resettle some of our Afghan friends to the Grand Valley area and other parts of Colorado. We now wait for processing to commence in the UAE so that our Afghan friends can have an onward journey to the United States. Members of each Afghan family now located in the UAE have all worked for JDA, some for many years. We know them personally and they have skills and talents that will be useful where ever they resettle.