Tampa veteran says evacuating former contacts from Afghanistan is difficult and dangerous

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Eric Parker spent six years in the U.S. Army and another ten years as a private security contractor protecting American Diplomats in the Middle East.

During that time, he served in Afghanistan and is now angry about the way the United States pulled out of that country.

“I think it’s horrible the way this was executed. I’m still in shock that we gave up Bagram Air Base without ensuring that all of our American Diplomats and everybody got out safely,” said Parker.

He is now in contact with former U.S. Special Forces operators who are in that country, trying to help people get out.

“They all have special operations backgrounds, special skill sets, most of them spent a career doing this,” said Parker who became aware of their efforts and contacted a friend on the team to ask for help to get people out of the country.

“I had actually had some families that I helped get out, one of my old interpreters from when I was in Afghanistan and a friend of mine from when I worked in Pakistan, she had an interpreter in that area, ” said Parker.

He now has a cell phone video from a woman inside the country that shows just how difficult it is to get out. He says the video shows a woman with American passports who had just been turned away from a Taliban checkpoint at gunpoint.

“She’s going through the Taliban checkpoint, you can see him with the flashlight, clearly it’s an American passport, she’s even talking in English, she’s saying I’m an American and I can’t get through. What else am I going to do,” said Parker.

Now he’s concerned about all of the people who were not able to get out of the country before the last American plane took off.

“It was time to get out, in my personal belief, but I don’t think we should have betrayed the people who helped us that entire time,” he said.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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