Defense Sec. Austin: Concerned About Afghan Pilots in Tajikistan

Defense Sec. Austin: Concerned About Afghan Pilots in Tajikistan lloyd austin speaks in hearing Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin testifies before a House Armed Services Committee hearing on the conclusion of military operations in Afghanistan at the Rayburn House Office building on Capitol Hill on Sept. 29, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery – Pool/Getty Images)

Wednesday, 29 September 2021 12:45 PM

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.

Original Article