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Higginsville Farmer Continues Work To Get Afghans Out Of Harm's Way

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White man seated in a wicker armchair dressed in Kansas City Chiefs ball cap. blue t-shirt, looking down at his cell phone in his right hand while petting the head of golden Labrador-type dog with his left hand.
Frank Morris
/
KCUR
Kyle Wilkens is a congressional aide to U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II and a farmer in Higginsville, Missouri.

A congressional aide in addition to being a farmer, Kyle Wilkens has been helping Afghans who worked for the United States and want to leave their country. With American troops no longer there, Wilkens hopes the State Department can find the means to get them out.

As the United States' withdrawal from Afghanistan was underway, Kyle Wilkens spent nights on his porch at his home in Higginsville, Missouri.

He was receiving messages from men and women trying to reach the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul.

These were people who had worked for the United States during its 20-year war in Afghanistan and now feared retribution at the hands of the Taliban.

Wilkens described joining with Cleaver's Deputy District Director Manny Abarca to put together a small team to field calls and forward information to the State Department.

Now that the American withdrawal is complete and no more flights are available, Wilkens says, work is still being done to find ways out for U.S. citizens, green card holders, Afghans in the immigration pipeline and those in danger as relatives of the Afghans who helped American efforts in the country.

For many of them, Wilkens says, "their lives are still on the line."

When I host Up To Date each morning at 9 a.m., my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. My email is steve@kcur.org.
As senior producer of Up To Date, I want our listeners to hear familiar and new voices that shine light on the issues and challenges facing the myriad communities KCUR serves, and to expose our audiences to the wonderful and the creative in the Kansas City area. Just as important to me is an obligation to mentor the next generation of producers to ensure that the important conversations continue. Reach me at alexanderdk@kcur.org.