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Tampa volunteers rescue 39 Americans and lawful residents from Afghanistan


More than three dozen American citizens and lawful residents, including an 11-month old boy, were rescued from Afghanistan through the help a civilian volunteer group.

The rescue of 39 on Friday, orchestrated by the Tampa-based Project DYNAMO, comes nearly four months after America’s chaotic withdrawal from the Taliban-controlled nation in August, which left hundreds of Americans and allies behind.  

‘This is the first known major airlift rescue with American boots on the ground since the U.S. government abandoned the country of Afghanistan in August,’ James Judge, a spokesman for Project DYNAMO, said in a statement. 

The volunteer group, which has rescued more than 2,000 Americans who were left behind after U.S. troops withdrew on August 31, said those rescued were staying at a safe house in the capital city of Kabul.

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Project DYNAMO rescued 39 Americans and lawful residents from Afghanistan on Saturday who were left behind after America’s chaotic withdrawal in August

Among the evacuees was an 11-year-old boy who flew from Kabul to JFK airport

Among the evacuees was an 11-year-old boy who flew from Kabul to JFK airport

The volunteer group secured everyone's documents and COVID-19 tests to make the trip

The volunteer group secured everyone’s documents and COVID-19 tests to make the trip

Volunteers provided food, water and COVID-19 testing before transporting them to Kabul International Airport, which was once filled with desperate crowds trying to flee the nation amid the Taliban’s take over. 

The evacuees flew out aboard two planes and landed at JFK International Airport in New York on Friday. 

‘It feels amazing to bring American citizens home,’ Bryan Stern, Project DYNAMO co-founder, told WTSP. 

‘These are our neighbors… Our countrymen.’ 

A third plane holding eight foreign evacuees is set to arrive Sunday morning.  

Bryan Stern, Project DYNAMO co-founder, is pictured holding everyone's documents at Kabul International Airport, in Afghanistan, as he preps them for the trip

Bryan Stern, Project DYNAMO co-founder, is pictured holding everyone’s documents at Kabul International Airport, in Afghanistan, as he preps them for the trip

Those rescued were given food and water at a safe house before heading out

Those rescued were given food and water at a safe house before heading out

The families arrived in New York on Friday after a day long trip

The families arrived in New York on Friday after a day long trip

Biden’s decision to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan was widely seen as a blow to American credibility to our Allies, especially amid reports that fellow G-7 leaders tried and failed to persuade him otherwise.

It also alarmed national security experts who feared the power vacuum left by the collapse of the Afghan government and Western evacuations would be filled by Russian and Chinese influence, and become a breeding ground for terrorist groups like Al Qaeda.

And some of the most searing anger at Biden came from the president breaking a vow he made on August 18, when he pledged on ABC News that ‘if there’s American citizens left, we’re gonna stay to get them all out.’

However on August 31, he admitted in a speech after the evacuation concluded that ‘about 100 to 200 Americans remain in Afghanistan with some intention to leave.’

The president was also accused of turning away from Afghans who aided the US military during its 20-year occupation – amid reports that Taliban fighters put targets on their backs.

Thousands of former US military translators and aid workers still in the special immigrant visa pipeline were left behind.

Top Biden officials like Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin were also under fire from Congressional lawmakers during heated hearings on Capitol Hill.

A Taliban fighter stands guard at the site of the twin suicide bombs, which killed scores of people including 13 US troops on August 26, at Kabul airport on August 27

A Taliban fighter stands guard at the site of the twin suicide bombs, which killed scores of people including 13 US troops on August 26, at Kabul airport on August 27

Fears are growing that crowds could try to storm the airport once civilian mercy flights stop, or that opportunistic terrorists could attack the densely-packed crowd

Fears are growing that crowds could try to storm the airport once civilian mercy flights stop, or that opportunistic terrorists could attack the densely-packed crowd

Biden defended the United States’ widely-criticized withdrawal operation from Afghanistan this past summer, claiming that he was against the invasion ‘from the beginning’ in a new interview – though his past Senate voting record says otherwise.

Speaking to CBS Sunday Morning, Biden chalked up the bipartisan criticism he received to failing to evacuate ‘without anyone getting hurt.’ 

The president, 79, made the comments during a brief appearance in CBS correspondent Rita Braver’s profile of First Lady Dr. Jill Biden. 

While discussing the need for bipartisan unity Biden was asked if he was ‘willing to lose his presidency’ over ‘sticking with’ his beliefs.

He then launched into an unprompted defense of his record over the chaotic evacuation from Kabul in August, after the Afghan capital fell to the Taliban at unprecedented speed. 

‘For example, Afghanistan – well, I’ve been against that war in Afghanistan from the very beginning. We spent $300 million a week in Afghanistan over 20 years,’ Biden said.

‘Everybody says, “You could have gotten out without anybody being hurt.” No one’s come up with a way to indicate to me how that happens. And so, there are certain things that are just so important.’



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