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Retired military officer not giving up hopes of rescuing Afghan family

"I put my life on the line over there for one year. He's had his life on the line ever since he started helping the US."

ST. LOUIS — Desperate to escape a country falling to the Taliban, it seemed like everything was happening so quickly for a group family we’re calling “The Amiri Eight:” they needed to get out of Afghanistan.

“I put my life on the line over there for one year. He's had his life on the line ever since he started helping the US,” Retired Military Officer Jeff Hoffman told 5 On Your Side in August. Speaking then anonymously, he was detailing his efforts to get an Afghan soldier and his family to safety, feeling optimistic.

Since then, efforts have slowed considerably.

“Imagine if your family was stuck somewhere: you'd never forget and it would eat you up,” he said. “They’re in hiding."

Tens of thousands of Afghan citizens were brought to the United States when the country fell to the Taliban last summer, following American troops withdrawal. An untold number remain, waiting to escape: that includes the Amiri Eight.

Hoffman was formerly stationed at Scott Air Force Base and is now living in Jefferson City, but has been working sources around the world to get help. He says because of the head of the family’s work helping him and other American troops during the years-long war in Afghanistan, the family now faces considerable danger if discovered by Taliban forces now running the country. 

“I believe I even know some [others] that got caught and they are no longer on this earth, were made examples of,” said Hoffman. “So the Amiri Eight would face some of the same fate if they [the Taliban] figured out who they were.”

He's hit a series of roadblocks since he first began communicating with the State Department last summer, but says he never stopped pushing. Shareable details about the efforts to rescue the Amiri Eight are limited right now, to not jeopardize their chances of making it out safely, but Hoffman says it’s meant enlisting the help of various government, political, and non-governmental resources. He’s teamed up with NGO “American Duty” to help fundraise to get the family much-needed supplies and pay for the cost of evacuation.

Working with others on a similar mission Hoffman things they're getting close to a breakthrough.

“We're their lifeline, we're what's keeping them alive, and we don't want to let them down because there's a certain bond--that there's a certain bond that is indescribable,” he said.

Though the stories of afghan citizens and allies have largely left the headlines, Hoffman is still hopeful they can still land the family close to home.

“I believe there will be a day that I'll sit down and I'll have dinner with the with the Amiri Eight here in country,” he said.

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