Young Cites Involvement In Afghanistan Evacuation Effort

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — U.S. Rep. Don Young's office on Friday said the Alaska Republican helped evacuate from Afghanistan last month employees of an Alaska Native corporation.

Young's office in a statement said employees of Goldbelt Inc. were among those evacuated to Qatar from Afghanistan.

Young spokesperson Zack Brown, in response to emailed questions from The Associated Press, said he could not share specific passenger details due to privacy issues and because visas are still being processed.

But Brown said Goldbelt worked with Young to secure the evacuation of the employees as part of a larger group. He said the plane carrying the Goldbelt employees and others left an airport in Afghanistan on Sept. 17 and landed in Qatar.

“This was a private chartered flight that worked with the State Department for all necessary clearances to depart Afghanistan,” he said in the email. There were 380 passengers on board, Brown wrote.

The AP left a message seeking comment for McHugh Pierre, president and CEO of Goldbelt.

The Taliban seized the Afghan capital in August, prompting evacuations from the country.

Pierre was quoted in the statement from Young's office saying the corporation had been supporting efforts by the U.S. State Department in Afghanistan for several years.

He said Goldbelt flew home employees who were U.S. nationals when “the transition of power began to occur,” and contacted the State Department and began working on efforts to move to safety “former employees who are Afghan nationals" and their families.

"We had one plane chartered and those people are now moved to safety," Pierre said in the statement. He thanked Young and his staff for “leveraging" their experience with the State Department and the White House, which he said aided Goldbelt in the evacuation effort.