American woman trapped in Afghanistan and tear-gassed at airport: ‘The last flight is gone and we’re left behind’

US Air Force aircraft takes off from the airport in Kabul on 30 August (AFP via Getty Images)
US Air Force aircraft takes off from the airport in Kabul on 30 August (AFP via Getty Images)

An American woman, and former military interpreter, remains trapped in Afghanistan after the last US flight departed.

The US citizen, who goes under the pseudonym Sara, spoke to CNN’s Chris Cuomo from Kabul on Monday night, outlining how she attempted to get to US checkpoints but was tear-gassed.

Sara wanted to get as many people out of the country before she fled herself. “I just can’t believe no one told me that this was the last flight,” she said to Cuomo.

Sara and 37 Afghans she was trying to save were living in her house. She explained live on air how she went from “gate to gate,” and managed to get through a Taliban checkpoint with a man she pretended was her husband with their “six children”.

The group were approaching the airport when tear gas was deployed. Amid the gas, Sara kept moving and managed to message her contact who was supposedly going to let her through the US checkpoint, she asked why they were being gassed. “They said ‘they are putting the gas for you so you can get closer to the gate’,” explained Sara.

As they were approaching the airport, Sara “started shouting, ‘I’m an American, please open the gate I’m here to go home.’” No one opened the door.

“They threw another gas and I was knocked out for like maybe 15 minutes,” she said, recounting how she lost all the children she was trying to save in the incident, including one child who was hit by the gas bullet.

The US and around 100 other countries released a joint statement on Sunday outlining that the Taliban has given assurances that the airport will remain open and it will continue letting foreigners and Afghans with the correct documents leave the country after the 31 August deadline.

“I don’t know what to believe anymore, they’ve been fooling me for the past 10 days, back and forth, back and forth,” said Sara, who fears for her life and the ones she is trying to save, now the US has left Kabul.

“Am I safe?” she said. “Now the question is my life. Am I safe? Are these people safe?

“I don’t think even they are safe, because they are in my house. They are now more a target than ever before because I’m an American.”

She questioned how the US was going to help her with no presence in Afghanistan. “If America could not help me when they were on the ground, how will they help me when no one is here? Is anyone going to rescue me?”

Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, head of US Central Command, announced the completion of US withdrawal from Afghanistan on Monday, along with the evacuation of American citizens and vulnerable Afghans. He stated that the last US military plane had left the country.

President Joe Biden has received backlash over withdrawing 24 hours early. “The Afghanistan war is not over. Joe Biden decided to quit and leave our citizens and allies behind,” Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn wrote on Twitter on Monday.

She has also criticised the president for arming the Taliban: “$85 billion of U.S. weaponry is in the hands of the Taliban because of Joe Biden.” She and other Republicans are calling for his impeachment.

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