Afghanistan

Goldbelt employees among those evacuated from Afghanistan

Post-withdrawal evacuation coordinated with help from Washington

Goldbelt Inc. employees, along with other Americans and Afghan allies, were successfully evacuated from Afghanistan and have arrived in Qatar, Rep. Don Young’s, R-Alaska, office announced Friday.

According to Young’s office, amid deteriorating conditions in Afghanistan, Young worked with officials at the U.S. State Department, the White House, U.S. Department of Defense and private organizations to secure the safe passage of the American citizens.

Young’s office said Goldbelt employees were among the American citizens who were unable to be evacuated before the full withdrawal of U.S. forces. Young called the U.S. withdrawal “botched” and drew comparisons to the end of the Vietnam War.

“Perhaps most egregious was the fact that so many were left behind; this was unacceptable,” Young said. “Among those left behind were employees of Alaska’s Goldbelt Inc., making the situation even more perilous. As conditions deteriorated, my staff and I worked around the clock to secure these employees’ safe passage.”

Goldbelt President and CEO McHugh Pierre said in a statement corporation employees had been working supporting the State Department in Afghanistan for more than three years. Goldbelt notified the State Department of the potential vulnerability of the former employees who are Afghan nationals, Pierre said, and began the coordination effort to move them and their families to safety. Goldbelt took the lead by coordinating with the team because of an existing relationship with the State Department, Pierre said.

“I especially want to thank (Young) and his staff for leveraging their extensive experience with both the State Department and the White House, which aided Goldbelt in the safe evacuation of its former Afghan national employees,” Pierre said.

Goldbelt charted a plane for the employees, according to Young’s office, and the corporation is now finished with the effort.

Contact reporter Peter Segall at psegall@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SegallJnuEmpire.

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