Illinois National Guard helps soldier’s family safely exit from Afghanistan

Courtesy: Illinois National Guard Public Affairs Office

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(WEEK) – An intelligence officer who works for a Brigade Engineer Battalion based in Bloomington will get to live with his family again thanks to the efforts of the Illinois National Guard.

Earlier this year, several agencies within the intelligence community helped the family of 2nd Lt. Fahim Masoud safely exit Afghanistan.

Born in Afghanistan, Masoud began working as an interpreter for the U.S. Army when he was 17 in December of 2006.

According to a press release from the Illinois Army and Air National Guard’s Department of Military Affairs, Masoud came to the United States in 2007 and later graduated from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

In August of 2017, he joined the Illinois Army National Guard, where he now serves as an intelligence officer assigned to Company D, 766th Brigade Engineer Battalion, which is based in Bloomington.

Masoud said his prior work with the U.S. Army along with his status in the Illinois National Guard and his job as an intelligence analyst placed his family in danger. But it was not until Kabul fell on Aug. 15 that timing became critical.

“I had to do everything I could in my power in order to get my family to safety, so I reached out to Maj. Gen. Neely through his Aide-de-Camp and we started the process of evacuating my family from Afghanistan.”

-2nd Lt. Fahim Masoud / Intelligence officer – 766th Brigade Engineer Battalion

In a statement sent out Tuesday, Maj. Gen Rich Neely, of Springfield said he did not hesitate when it came time to write a letter on Masoud’s behalf.

“Lieutenant Masoud provided an invaluable service to the United States as a translator. He sought out that job and did it very well… I wrote the letter to attest to his good character and the invaluable work he has done for not only the Illinois National Guard but for the U.S. Armed Forces in hopes it would help in the process of moving his family to safety.”

-Maj. Gen Rich Neely – Adjutant General of Illinois and Commander of the Illinois National Guard

Masoud’s family applied for the Priority-2, or P-2 program, which can be used for families of Afghan nationals who work to protect U.S. national security interests in Afghanistan.

The next steps involved safely transporting Masoud’s family to the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul.

On Aug. 26, Masoud said his family was in the general area of the suicide bomber which killed 13 U.S. service members and 170 Afghan civilians.

“The security situation was extremely dire that day. My family was able to get inside the airport on the same day we had the heartbreaking suicide attack.”

-2nd Lt. Fahim Masoud / Intelligence officer – 766th Brigade Engineer Battalion

Masoud, who now lives in Virginia, told 25 News he was able to keep in contact with his family as they were transported from Kabul to an air base in Qatar, and then to the Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

On Sept. 10, Masoud’s family arrived in Washington D.C. Once Masoud’s family completes the vetting process, he expects they will be able to live with him, his wife and their children in Virginia.

The post Illinois National Guard helps soldier’s family safely exit from Afghanistan appeared first on WEEK.


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