IOWA — Before he was elected to serve Iowans at the statehouse, Republican State Sen. Zach Nunn, currently running for Congress in Iowa’s 3rd District, served the nation in the Air Force – flying combat missions in Afghanistan. Now, as that country falls back to Taliban control, Nunn is doing what he can from Iowa to help get as many Afghanis who aided US forces out as he can.
“We now want to have their back in the same way they had our back, so I am very motivated by this, I’ll be candid, I’m angry about it,” says Nunn, “And I want to do something to help.” Nunn is working with two groups to help those still on the ground in Afghanistan in different ways.
One group is conducting what it calls operation Wings of the Eagle. A group of former military members is organizing flights into neighboring countries, including Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, to evacuate Afghanis who make it out of the country. Nunn says the goal is to get them to anywhere except where they are. “We are looking to bring them out of the country and provide them safe passage to an area where they will not be persecuted, hunted, potentially decapitated if they stay in Afghanistan.”
Nunn is also working to gather support for the Global Surgical Medical Support Group. They are a team of doctors and former soldiers who travel into hostile areas to provide emergency medical care. “They’re now teaming up with Special Operations veterans, individuals who had boots on the ground in-country before, but now have gone back, oftentimes on their own dime to go into country, and help save individuals who have been trapped and we are looking across Afghanistan to get these individuals out,” Nunn said.
Nunn says he disagrees with the hasty exit from Afghanistan that has lead to a humanitarian crisis. The Biden Administration had said a similar collapse would have happened no matter when the exit happened. Nunn says he is worried about what comes next for global diplomacy now. “We have a long term, security crisis going on in Afghanistan,” he says, “We just closed, one of the largest U.S. air bases in the middle of Central Asia, and we now have a situation where China and Iran have a direct pipeline to each other.”
But those concerns must wait, for now, he says: “you have a moral obligation to do all that we can right now, there’ll be plenty of time to talk in the future about what the right solution is, but I wanted to do something meaningful, today.”