We were next on the flight line, waiting for our G5 plane to take off. A hodgepodge of former Operators and medical professionals, all volunteering to make a difference in Kabul, Afghanistan. It was a huge orchestration to get us to that point. Starting on Sunday, August 22, ten days before the last U.S. Military flight left, and the airport shout down, 15 of us flew in from around the country to Washington, DC. We all consolidated on Monday night and huddled at Dulles Airport, getting our COVID PCR tests, sharing intel, and planning who we would provide medical aid to under the command of the military Task Force in charge of the evacuee operation. As we all waited to board the G5 our plan started to fall apart.
The Taliban started shooting rockets, and our privately funded G5 was grounded. Getting commercial air into Kabul would be impossible, as we were quoted over 3 million dollars. It was a hardship for all of us, and the end of our one good chance to get into HKIA. Even with the support of the Global Surgical and Medical Support Group (GSMSG) team, who was the main effort in this operation, we did not have the resources to fly. The GSMSG GoFundMe had a 2-5 day wait period to collect the funds from the account and by then it would be all but too late. We had to make a new plan, and reconsider where SOAA could help out the most.
At the time it was very tough to foresee the events before they happened, but we regrouped, linking up with No One Left Behind, our long-time partner that had been running a large-scale evacuation effort. A Joint Operation Center had been established out of the Willard Hotel in Washington which enabled rapid coordination among organizations and individuals dedicated to the emergency evacuation initiative. It was at the Willard that SOAA changed course and refocused efforts to the main overseas resettlement sites. The next day, we mobilized, and the SOAA team was on the way to Qatar. We are all grateful for your support and aim to keep doing our part to bring our Afghan Allies home.
For an overview of our trip click here.