A woman-owned organization based in Israel has been reported to send private flights to rescue Taliban targets trapped in Afghanistan in coordination with the United States government.
SRN News said The Shai Fund President Charmaine Hedding is providing humanitarian efforts to Afghanistan by evacuating human rights activists and defenders targeted by the Taliban. Hedding has been "working feverishly" from her home in Zichron Yaakov, Israel on the private flights meant to evacuate thousands of people from Afghanistan.
Hedding, who is also the emergency response specialist of her U.S.-registered Israel-based organization, revealed that she is coordinating with the U.S. military for the private flights that will evacuate high-risk people and high-profile personnel from the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, which is more known as the Kabul Airport.
She said that the U.S. armed forces has full authority on the private flights organized by The Shai Fund and that ex-Marines will lead it.
In an interview with The Media Line, Hedding revealed that a coalition was made by non-government organizations to raise funds for the flights and to organize it. She said the first flight is scheduled for arrival on Sunday night and that there are 10 flights, each estimated to evacuate 300 people.
"We formed a coalition because, of course, this is a huge operation. We have private charter flights. So, this is a civil society, grassroots initiative, run by NGOs (non-government organizations) like mine. We have raised the funds to get the flights in. So we have our first flight arriving. And these flights can take up to 300 people," Hedding disclosed.
"We've got 10 flights, back-to-back potentially, but there's no point if we land in Kabul airport and they can't get through the gates because the Taliban are controlling the gates to the airport," she added. "And so, we have to break that open and negotiate where we come in, and we establish this humanitarian corridor so that we can evacuate our people out."
Hedding also remarked that the situation in Afghanistan is "unbelievably shocking," which she said is something she has not encountered in the two decades that she has been in the "business" of "humanitarian calamity." Hedding elaborated that she has been working in Africa and the Middle East and other parts of the world on "protecting people" and various sectors such as children and ethnic minorities through her organization. The Shai Fund's background was the main reason they "got involved immediately" with the evacuation of people from Afghanistan.
"We are working with local communities with people who are at very high risk and the Taliban are hunting these people down, wanting to capture them. And we've had cases where people have actually been killed that are on our lists," Hedding stressed.
Hedding revealed the Taliban knows the location of the activists, which makes the operation really intricate that she and her colleagues "work through trusted networks" out of the need to "approach people carefully" and ensure that those to be evacuated are protected "throughout the process."
"So, we work through trusted networks, and we approach the people carefully and make sure that we protect them throughout the process, but I think the problem is on the ground. The problem is not with us foreigners trying to help them. The problem is that we've let in a terrorist organization with links to Al Qaida," Hedding revealed.
"I have people in safe houses that have had to move five to six times because the Taliban knows where they are. They've been able to get hold of geolocators to find out where these people are," she added. "And these people are all in safe houses in hiding for fear of their lives."
The Shai Fund stressed that Christians in Afghanistan, as well as, "the vulnerable"--the women and children--are in grave danger from the Talibans this is why they have taken the initiative to aid in the evacuation. The organization urged that "we cannot abandon them now. We need to stop this unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe."