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St. Louis Marine, Afghan refugee race to save Afghans who worked alongside US troops

Author: Anne Allred -

Published: 9:33 PM CDT August 16, 2021

ST. LOUIS — The Taliban plans to murder any Afghans who worked with the United States during the war.

One of those people is named Haseeb. He had a price on his head and was in hiding for three years before he came to St. Louis on a special immigrant visa in 2017.

His visa was sponsored by a local Marine, Gunnery Sgt. Hugh Tychsen.

The two worked together in Afghanistan and for the last few years, they’ve worked together to request U.S. visas for 110 other men who helped U.S. troops.

One of those visas came through this weekend and Wakil arrived safely at St. Louis Lambert International Airport. He brought his wife and two toddlers.

“I am very happy now but sad for my family in Afghanistan,” said Wakil.

Haseeb worries for the other Afghans who helped U.S. forces, it may be too late.

Ninety of the visas are in the final stages of approval but the families are still in Afghanistan.

The country is under Taliban control and communication with these families is unlikely.

“These people who worked for Americans and now, I’m very worried," Haseeb said through tears. "Once the airport is empty, no Americans, they are going to search home by home and slaughter all these families, all these people. There are hundreds of kids of these interpreters and their wives."

We are only using Haseeb and Wakil’s first names because their extended families could be killed by Taliban forces.

Tychsen worked with many of these men. He pushed through Haseeb’s visa five years ago and has helped co-sponsor the other U.S. visa requests.

“Haseeb came here with nothing and now runs a successful construction business. To be able to lift up the lives of their wives and their children and give them an education. They work really hard. They love America, they are extremely patriotic,” Tychsen said.

The status of the visa requests is unknown.

If you’d like to help Afghan refugees coming to St. Louis, please reach out to the local nonprofit, Oasis International.

Tychsen also encourages viewers to reach out to their U.S. representative or senator encouraging them to green-light the visas for these families.

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