Defense Sec. Austin: Concerned About Afghan Pilots in Tajikistan

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin expressed concern on Wednesday about U.S.-Afghan pilots and other personnel being held in Tajikistan after fleeing there last month, during a hearing where a lawmaker complained of foot-dragging by U.S. diplomats.

“We will get with State (Department officials) right away to see if we can move this forward. I share your concerns,” Austin said in response to Republican Rep. Austin Scott during a hearing at the House Armed Services Committee.

Reuters exclusively provided first-person accounts from U.S.-trained Afghan personnel being held at a sanatorium in a mountainous, rural area outside of the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, waiting and hoping for over a month for transfer by the United States. Among the 143 Afghans there is a pregnant pilot. 

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