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U.S. Special Forces Veterans Rescue Afghan Family Biden Abandoned, Reunite Them with American Father


REPORTED BY: JORDAN BOYD | APRIL 29, 2022

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/04/29/u-s-special-forces-veterans-rescue-afghan-family-biden-abandoned-reunite-them-with-american-father/

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It had been more than a year since Hashmatullah Niazy, a U.S. citizen, last saw his wife, Freshta, and four young children when they finally reunited in Austin, Texas this month.

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While thousands of illegal immigrants pour across the southwest U.S. border daily, Afghan refugees abandoned by the Biden administration during the Afghanistan withdrawal are still struggling to gain legal entry to the United States.

It had been more than a year since Hashmatullah Niazy, a U.S. citizen who emigrated from Afghanistan, last saw his wife, Freshta, and four young children when they finally reunited in Austin, Texas this month. Niazy became a U.S. citizen in 2020 through the Special Immigrant Visa program after working as a translator for the U.S. military in Afghanistan. He began translating and training recruits at the Kabul Military Training Center in 2007 after his older brother died in combat while working with special forces. When Niazy obtained his U.S. visa in 2014, he resigned from his job and flew to the states. 

Niazy told me he wanted to bring his family over with him, but every time he tried to initiate the immigration process, his wife was pregnant and wanted to avoid strenuous travel. Freshta and the children eventually joined the backlogged SIV immigration process before the Taliban took over the country, but their quest for permanent U.S. residency was derailed when President Joe Biden initiated the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan last fall.

I first reported on Niazy’s family situation in September 2021 when his brother, wife, and kids were all stranded in a Taliban-infested Kabul. At the time, Niazy was already in the United States, working nights and eagerly building a life for his family in Texas. But his excitement for his family’s new life in America was blunted when he realized they might not make it past the crowds at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul to get on an evacuation flight out of Afghanistan.

“Suddenly the Taliban took over the country and now we were like lost,” Niazy told me.

That’s when “angels from the sky” came in.

The Escape

After weeks of chaos at the Hamid Karzai International Airport, where some translators and their families were among the more than 200 people killed by a suicide bomber on August 26, Freshta and the kids, ranging in age from 3 to 12 years old, finally escaped Kabul at the end of September with the help of a large group of former U.S. soldiers, some trained in special operations.

Jim Young, Dan Fickel, Keye Perry, Joe Penkala, and another man named “Tom,” who is still in active government service and declined to give his last name, all graduated from West Point in 1994. When they saw the crisis in Afghanistan, they banded together to do everything they could to rescue Americans and Afghan allies the Biden administration had left behind. They enlisted the aid of several other former service members including Ryan Timoney, West Point class of 1993 graduate Dave Abrahams, retired Special Forces officer Matt Coburn, former Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, and Helen Jbeily of California Republican Rep. David Valadao’s office to actively shepherd Freshta, her brother-in-law, and her kids to the overcrowded, dangerous airport for evacuation while avoiding the Taliban as much as possible.

I talked to Penkala, a retired U.S. Army officer, about the rescue efforts after the Niazy family’s first attempt to seek evacuation at the airport.

“We had sort of an up and down type of situation, even after we had taken over his case, and had managed to get the family back to [the airport]. And it was through no small effort on the part of some folks from the Special Operations community, one individual in particular who was retired,” Penkala told me over the phone. “We actually got them to the North Gate [of the airport] so this is the second time they had made it to the airport. And even though there was an obvious way to bring them in, frankly, they were still left stranded. Nobody would open the gate for them even though at one point we only had about 25 people in front of the North Gate.”

At one point, Penkala told me that, “the Taliban began beating some of the local Afghans,” forcing the on-the-ground rescuers to adapt as the Niazy clan retreated to their apartment.

During that time, Niazy said his wife “never lost her courage.”

“There was the time that I lost my hope. That was the time when my wife said ‘It’s okay. Whatever it takes me to get my kids to their dad, I will do that,’” Niazy said. “So that was a time when she gave me the courage, she gave me the hope and I needed it.”

Efforts to orchestrate the evacuation of the Niazys and hundreds of others from the clutches of the Taliban were largely funded by one of Young’s business partners, Zekelman Industries out of Texas, which donated $1 million out of the $1.1 million required to reunite the Niazy family and other refugees after another sponsor backed out.

After days of chaos, the Niazy family and 528 other American citizens, legal permanent residents, their spouses, and their children were finally able to flee Afghanistan unharmed.

“We’re so thankful for all these great humans. From God first and then from all these humans that helped me and came into my life, me and my wife,” Niazy said.

Evacuation Was Only The Beginning

Even though the Niazy family applied to permanently rejoin the head of their household in the United States, it was a long and difficult process between September of last year and early April this year, when they were finally permitted to set foot on American soil.

“This was a family who was already in the process and had paperwork prepared. And, frankly, the wife was married to a U.S. citizen. This is the immediate family of a United States citizen and it took private efforts,” Penkala said. “And once we got them out of harm’s way, it took an additional five months to come into the country.”

During that time, Freshta and her children were at a refugee camp in the United Arab Emirates. While the family was safe from the dangers the Taliban posed to them, they were stuck in limbo and at the mercy of the American bureaucracy.

Penkala said “there were some folks who were kind enough to work through their connections to get them some additional food and supplies and that type of thing” but that didn’t help reunite the family.

Niazy admitted that the experience induced many “sleepless nights” for him as he anxiously waited for the green light. In total, it took more than five months for Niazy, an American citizen who served with U.S. forces in combat, to legally relocate his wife and kids to Texas.

The American Dream

The Niazy family may have had to jump through multiple hoops that illegal immigrants at the Southern border don’t, but a lack of help from the U.S. government hasn’t hampered their enthusiasm for the American Dream.

While Niazy works as an engineering technician, Freshta and the children are acclimating to their new lives along with Niazy’s parents, who also emigrated to the United States. Once the family moves to a new apartment, three of the four children will start attending school. 

In just a couple of weeks, Freshta and the Niazy children are expected to receive their Social Security numbers. But for now he is thankful that his immediate family made it to a free country where his daughters can attend school.

“It’s the teaching of our parents that wherever you live, treat it as your home, keep it clean, and keep the environment clean and also treat your neighbors good,” Niazy said. “With this [Taliban] regime, no one is happy and everybody lost the hope that [Afghanistan] will ever be a free country.”

When I video chatted with the family last week, Niazy had just woken up after working a night shift at his engineering job and Freshta was preparing food in the family’s apartment kitchen. The children were happily chattering with each other as they played with toys. The youngest one gave me a shy wave.

“This is a beautiful life,” Niazy said as he bounced his daughter on his lap. “I’m very excited and very happy. And I am praying for those who helped me, these beautiful humans in my life.”


Jordan Boyd is a staff writer at The Federalist and co-producer of The Federalist Radio Hour. Her work has also been featured in The Daily Wire and Fox News. Jordan graduated from Baylor University where she majored in political science and minored in journalism. Follow her on Twitter @jordanboydtx.

In Opposing War with Russia, Tucker Carlson Champions the Hard-Won Truths of Putting American Interests First


REPORTED BY: SUMANTRA MAITRA | JANUARY 31, 2022

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/01/31/in-opposing-war-with-russia-tucker-carlson-champions-the-hard-won-truths-of-putting-american-interests-first/

Tucker Carlson monologue on Russia

Arecent Tucker Carlson monologue questioned the relentless narrative insisting Americans must compulsively side with Ukraine against Russia in their conflict.

“We are potentially on the verge of a land war in Europe aimed at extinguishing democracy and sovereignty, and the American right wing is on the side of ethno-nationalist authoritarianism. That’s where we’re at,” tweeted President Obama’s former speechwriter Ben Rhodes, who coined the phrase “DC blob,” in reply to Carlson without a hint of irony.

Another Democrat operative, who allegedly worked with the Ukrainian embassy to dig up dirt on President Trump, tweeted that Carlson should be prosecuted as a foreign agent. To top it all, President Obama’s former Russia hand quite literally called for war against a nuclear rival to ensure the sovereignty of Ukraine, a proposition unthinkable during Cold War bipartisanship, when the first instinct was to ensure great power equilibrium and avoid mutually assured destruction.

They are not the only ones. A recent New Yorker profile makes it clearer than any:

Vladimir Putin presents himself to his citizens and to the world as the standard-bearer of a modern counter-enlightenment. He has declared liberal democracy ‘obsolete,’ a political arrangement that has ‘outlived its purpose. One of his historical role models is said to be Alexander III, a reactionary tsar in the Romanov dynasty who instituted draconian restrictions on the press, sought to ‘Russify’ his multi-ethnic empire, and mobilized against internal and external threats. Four years ago, Putin expressed his deep admiration for the tsar while visiting the Crimean Peninsula, a substantial and distinctly unthreatening parcel of Ukraine that Russia invaded in 2014 and has occupied ever since.

A Rabid Response to the New Right’s Power

There is a palpable panic at Carlson arguably driving the GOP towards a more pre-war conservatism. It’s even being hysterically termed Putinism and Russia First” by some commentators. Michael McFaul, Obama’s Russia ambassador, was vocal on Twitter arguing that opposing Russia is a moral duty of anyone who opposes “imperialism,” alongside both prominent liberal theorists and second-tier neoconservative internationalist gadflies.

There has also been relentless fearmongering about Carlson, authoritarianism, and nationalism. Some have gone so far as to bizarrely tag Carlson a “comrade,” which is absurd because Putin’s Russia is far more Christian and conservative than the increasingly secular West.

“Why is it disloyal to side with Russia but loyal to side with Ukraine?” Carlson asked, provoking commentary noting Putin murders dissidents. Yet the world is full of rulers who murderously abuse power—for example, by sending drones that kill non-combatants and children.

It cannot be a matter of American patriotism to send U.S. troops to die for evils in other nations, or United States must attempt to police the entire globe. Experience has shown that is practically impossible and deeply damaging to U.S. national interests.

Thus in recent years, the ascendant New Right has led a bipartisan push for a more restrained foreign policy, one predicated on cutting down on foreign entanglements (termed as foreign policy realism in academic circles) especially from the Middle East, pushing Europe to spend a lot more for its own defense, and focusing more on domestic issues, as well as the rise of China. Carlson is perhaps the most prominent voice of that school in the right and has consistently opposed needless foreign confrontation, especially over Iran and Russia.

Matt Walsh and Sohrab Ahmari recently also opposed further confrontation with Russia over ensuring democracy and rights in Ukraine, as this conflict does not directly threaten the American landmass or way of life. Prominent next-gen Republican lawmakers and foreign policy leaders, such as Adam Laxalt, Bernie Moreno, J. D. Vance, Blake Masters, and Peter Meijer also often voice more realist rhetoric.

Is It America’s Job to Change Other Nations’ Regimes?

This realignment has also included questioning whether the ascending conservative foreign-policy realism in America, based on a narrow definition of national interest, is compatible with progressivism. Progressivism, as John Mearsheimer noted, is by definition universalist, radical, and revolutionary.

Mearsheimer wrote, “because liberalism prizes the concept of inalienable or natural rights, committed liberals are deeply concerned about the rights of virtually every individual on the planet. This universalist logic creates a powerful incentive for liberal states to get involved in the affairs of countries that seriously violate their citizens’ rights. To take this a step further, the best way to ensure that the rights of foreigners are not trampled is for them to live in a liberal democracy. This logic leads straight to an active policy of regime change, where the goal is to topple autocrats and put liberal democracies in their place.”

Consider the relentless number of tweets by a section of the commentariat about Western support for ensuring LGBT-favoring laws in Ukraine, and Mearsheimer sounds prescient. Whatever these people are, their constant revolutionary and internationalist rhetoric would make Leon Trotsky blush.

Our Job Is to Govern Ourselves First

Foreign policy realism, on the other hand, enacts a grand strategy based on amoral narrow national interest, one formulated by early American statesmen from George Washington to James Monroe to John Quincy Adams. If it ever comes back as an administrative principle, then it will become the domain solely of the right.

The aversion against great powers and spheres of influence is an egalitarian instinct claiming all states are equal, regardless of any other variable. This instinct is by definition unnatural and revolutionary. It defies geography, aggregate power, history, and most importantly, narrow nationalism.

Believing that “History” is progressive, and therefore acting on it to liberate everyone everywhere and promote rights and democracy, then becomes part of an inflated American national interest. The side that does not believe in nation-states or nationalism cannot by definition side with a narrow interpretation of national interest.

It’s Natural to Defend Yourself

Carlson is increasingly influential because he sides with something very natural: a human urge to be a nationalist, and therefore opposed to a relentless and crusading global revolution, whether promoting a borderless Marxism or an equally borderless liberalism.

The ascendant New Right believes in peace through strength, and a very narrow Jacksonian definition of nationalism, in which Europeans pay for their own security and Americans only come at the last moment if things go wrong. In this view, China is a far bigger threat to American prosperity and its land-mass than Russia or Iran will ever be, and defending porous American borders matters a lot more to Americans than Ukrainian borders.

The other side, a duopoly of Never Trump neoconservatives and liberal-internationalists, wants to continue to allegedly ensure human rights across the globe while neglecting the way of life at home. It may be a noble goal, but ultimately it’s one that the majority of Americans and an overwhelming number of conservatives are tired of after 30 years, thousands of lost lives, and trillions of dollars in deficits.

The instinct for promoting a global revolution to promote LGBT rights, liberalism, and feminism is as radical an instinct as it can get, and that argument is increasingly opposed by a majority of Americans who simply don’t care enough to spend blood and treasure in places they cannot spot on a map.

Self-Government Means No Country Is Too Big to Fail

When Rhodes and McFaul yell about defending human rights in Ukraine, and Carlson and others on the right remind everyone of American failures in pursuing such an unlimited global policy, it’s important to rethink the priors and understand the re-alignment in foreign policy is complete. Powerful realist voices on the left such as Matthew Duss, Stephen Wertheim, Tulsi Gabbard, and Rep. Ro Khanna notwithstanding, it is becoming increasingly clear that true restrained foreign policy realism is connected to a very narrow form of nationalism, and that is fundamentally a reactionary and therefore conservative concept.

Second, as I wrote recently, “selling” such foreign policy, even to a very instinctively nationalist electorate like America, means talking in a language that most people will get. Carlson (and Donald Trump, for that matter) connected with the normal crowd, arguing about the futility of sending their sons to die for Ukraine, Afghanistan, or Libya. That has more impact than a bunch of Foreign Affairs Snapshots.

This recent debate on Ukraine, therefore, has brought forth troubling questions for those trying to sell oxymoronic “progressive” foreign policy realism, which took a hell of a beating in the last few weeks.


Dr. Sumantra Maitra is a national-security fellow at The Center for the National Interest; a non-resident fellow at the James G Martin Center; and an elected early career historian member at the Royal Historical Society. He is a senior contributor to The Federalist, and can be reached on Twitter @MrMaitra.

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