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.