Some Illinois residents are keeping a close eye on developments in Afghanistan as Taliban forces take over the country following the withdrawal of U.S. troops.
One such Illinoisan is Karl Rahder of Naperville, a former election observer in Afghanistan.
“It’s the nightmare scenario,” he said.
Rahder is waiting to hear from his former Afghan translator who is sheltering at an undisclosed location in his home country with his wife and child. For safety reasons, Karl is referring to him as “Aram.”
“The Taliban actually boarded his bus 10 times at various checkpoints,” Rahder said. “I’ve advised him and all my Afghan friends to erase his Facebook friend list, to delete all information on devices that could link them to foreign forces.”
Rahder sent NBC 5 an audio clip of "Aram" telling him that militants have torched vehicles and have set up checkpoints throughout the country.
RefugeeOne, the largest resettlement agency in Illinois, confirmed it was helping “numerous” families stuck in the country as they face an uncertain future.
On Monday, President Joe Biden admitted Afghanistan fell to the Taliban much faster than anticipated as he acknowledged the “gut-wrenching” images coming out of the country.
Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin defended the president’s decision to not hand over the war to a fifth president, citing the safety of American troops.
"...Had he walked away from the withdraw agreement originally negotiated by President Trump, Taliban attacks on U.S. forces would have restarted and required yet another surge in U.S. troops," Durbin said in a statement, in part. "How long were Americans willing to continue this cycle, particularly if the Afghan government wasn’t willing to fight for its own future?"
Still, Rahder believes this situation didn’t have to happen.
“The Biden administration came to office in January,” he stated. “They have had 8 months now to plan.”