A clutch of Afghan pilots who fled to the neighboring nation of Uzbekistan say the Taliban will surely kill them if they try and return home.
“If they send us back, I’m 100 percent sure they’ll kill us,” one pilot flatly told Reuters. The airmen were trained by the United States. Many escaped with their own aircraft in the hours before the Taliban overthrew the former Afghan government.
If the new Islamic government elected to keep them alive, the pilots could also become an invaluable store of technical knowledge to the Taliban and help them navigate some of the complex machinery retreating US forces left behind in their harried withdrawal.
“It is imperative that these personnel not fall into the hands of the Taliban both for their safety and the valuable technical knowledge and training they have,” Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) told Reuters.
The pilots are currently held in an uneasy limbo at a former coronavirus ward