Afghan pilot who expressed fears transferred to Tajik hospital – Journal

WASHINGTON: A pregnant Afghan Air Force pilot who was held in a rural sanatorium in Tajikistan and expressed concerns last week about the risks to her unborn child has been transferred to a maternity hospital, said said one of his fellow pilots.

The US-trained Afghan pilot had been held in the sanatorium along with more than 140 other Afghan personnel who had flown military planes out of the country in August during the dying moments of the war, as the Taliban took control of Kabul.

Tajikistan’s foreign and interior ministries could not be reached for comment.

In an interview last week, the 29-year-old pilot expressed deep concerns for the well-being of her baby in the isolated sanatorium and said Tajik authorities had rejected her requests for hospital reconciliation despite the deadline. November approaching.

“They say, ‘No. When the time for your delivery arrives, we will take you to the hospital and bring you back here, ”she said before her transfer, in her first comments to a reporter, speaking on condition of anonymity. She could not be immediately reached for comment.

His pilot colleague, who remains at the sanatorium and who also spoke on condition of anonymity, gave no further details.

Afghan Air Force pilots and other personnel have been detained in Tajikistan for nearly two months, in hopes that the United States will eventually remove them from the country for refugee status in America. But for reasons that are not clear, this has yet to happen.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told a congressional hearing last week that he was concerned about pilots in Tajikistan and would work with the State Department to “see if we can get things done. “.

During the hearing, Republican Congressman Austin Scott brought up the case of the pregnant pilot, which was first reported by this news agency.

He said last week that his office had been informed by the State Department that the Tajik government was “very aware of the condition of the pregnant pilot” and that anyone in need of emergency medical services would be taken to the airport. a local medical facility.

US-trained English-speaking Afghan pilots were among the Taliban’s biggest targets during the war.

Afghan Air Force personnel in Tajikistan are the latest large group of such overseas personnel still suspected of being in limbo after dozens of forward planes crossed the Afghan border into that country and to Uzbekistan in the last moments of the war.

In September, a deal brokered by the United States allowed a larger group of Afghan pilots and other military personnel to leave Uzbekistan.

Before her transfer, the pregnant Afghan pilot echoed complaints from other Afghan personnel anxious to leave Tajikistan.

“We are like prisoners here. Not even like refugees, not even like immigrants. We have no legal document or way to buy something for ourselves, ”she said.

Posted in Dawn, le 11 October 2021

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