EUCLID, Ohio (WJW) – For weeks, we have all watched as western forces helped evacuate more than 116,000 people out of Afghanistan.
Seventy-five of those who got airlifted were helped by several police officers from the United States, including Euclid Cpt. Jeff Cutwright.
“My heart sank,” Cutwright told the FOX 8 I-Team. “My friend, Khalid Afzal, called me around Aug. 15 saying he needed help. The Taliban wanted to kill him and his family.”
Cutwright met Afzal when they both attended the FBI National Academy in 2019. They lived in the same dorm and became friends.
Khalid was the director of police with the National Directorate of Afghanistan.
“I kept thinking, ‘I am a police captain in Euclid, Ohio. How am I going to help my friend who is a world away?’” Cutwright said. “I knew I had to do something. Khalid worked with Americans in Afghanistan and helped many Americans. He now needed our help. The Taliban had tried to kill him twice before so I knew he had to get out. “
Cutwright said he worked with the Mission Essential Group, the other 248 members that attended the FBI National Academy in 2019 and several government officials.
“I spoke with Khalid every day and every day, people were getting shot and killed by the Taliban,” Cutwright said.
It took several days of waiting at the gate at the airport before Khalid, his family and the 70 others were able to get on a flight.
On Aug. 22, Cutwright received the text, “Brother, I cross the airport with Marines.”
He said Khalid was “horrified” to learn days later about the 13 U.S. service members who were killed defending the gate at the airport.
Khalid and his family are now safe and hope to get to the U.S. soon.
“We couldn’t do it alone. It took 250 of us, it took the state department, it took the FBI, it took Mission Essential, all of us working together for seven days to make it happen,” Cutwright said. “But we did it.”