Evacuations of American citizens from crisis countries is always difficult and dangerous, as the recent evacuation of over 124,000 people from Afghanistan demonstrated.
Twenty five years ago, in late May 1997, I was involved in the evacuation of 2,500 people from a violent coup in the West African country of Sierra Leone. I’m writing this detailed description of what happened then to provide some context and comparison with the massive evacuation conducted in Afghanistan, during which, on Aug. 26, an ISIS-K suicide bomber at the Abby gate of the Kabul international airport detonated a huge amount of explosives on his body that killed over 170 Afghans and 13 members of the U.S. military.
The subsequent retaliatory U.S. drone strike in Kabul against ISIS-K reminded me of an incident during our 1997 evacuation from Freetown, Sierra Leone, and the violence — potential or actual — that can occur during these military operations.
Read the full piece here.