Afghan warfighters share stories of battle, escape at Virginia Tech event

Afghanistan’s elite Female Tactical Platoon helped to track down and capture Taliban leaders

BLACKSBURG, Va. – A group of Afghan soldiers shared their stories of the Female Tactical Platoon with hundreds of people at Virginia Tech’s campus on Wednesday.

In 2011 the Female Tactical Platoon (FTP) was formed as an elite unit within the Afghan army, composed of Afghan women who trained alongside US Special Operations Forces.

Many of these women were tasked with talking with women and children about the location of Taliban targets. They also completed raids in Afghanistan.

In 2021, these same women were some of the thousands who fled the country for the United States when the Taliban seized Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.

Among them were Azizgul Ahmadi and Soraiya Nazari who both now live in Blacksburg.

“It was so hard. I never forgot that event and that day. Everybody is terrified, everybody wants to leave the country. It was so horrible for me,” Nazari said.

US Army Veteran, Rebekah Edmondson, was there every step of the way. She helped with the different missions and has helped FTP’s around the country get settled into their new homes.

“We could have done the missions without them but we certainly would not have been as successful,” Edmondson said.

Many of the women have family members still living in Afghanistan. Fearing retribution from the Taliban, they cannot return home.

They came to the United States under a temporary parole program which was renewed in June for another two years. Now, they are rallying for passage of the Afghan Adjustment Act, a bill offering a path for permanent U.S. legal status for Afghans who evacuated the country when Kabul fell to the Taliban.

“To be on this end of it trying to encourage them and support them especially when there’s no clear path to citizenship is a tremendous challenge,” Edmondson said.

Luckily for Ahmadi and Nazari, they have had the support of multiple local organizations to help their transition to Blacksburg.

The resettlement services available to them in Blacksburg, from English classes to transportation and moving help are part of a larger purpose.

About the Author:

Connor Dietrich joined the 10 News team in June 2022. Originally from Castle Rock, Colorado, he's ready to step away from the Rockies and step into the Blue Ridge scenery.