Florida sheriff’s deputy helps 33 relatives escape Afghanistan

Southeast

SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A Florida sheriff’s deputy, originally from Afghanistan, went to extreme lengths to get his family out of the country.

Deputy Mubarak, who can only use his last name due to security concerns and the fear of reprisal from the Taliban, worked for eight years in his native country with U.S. Special Forces and the U.S. Marines as a combat linguist.

Mubarak also helped train U.S. combat forces in this country before earning a U.S. high school diploma and eventually a master’s degree in Central Eurasian Studies.

In 2020, he moved to Sarasota, Florida, and entered the police academy, graduating at the top of his class. He was then hired as a deputy with the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Kurt Hoffman comes from a family of Marines. His father served as a Marine and also his cousin, Marine Col. Randy Hoffman, who worked with Deputy Mubarak in Afghanistan.

“To listen to my cousin, he credits Deputy Mubarak with protecting him and saving the lives of a lot of Marines with the work he did over there in the war zones,” said Sheriff Hoffman.

As Afghanistan began to fall to the Taliban, members of Deputy Mubarak’s family began to worry about their safety and future. He wanted them to leave.

“It’s very important because I worked as a combat linguist with U.S. Special Forces and that puts not only me in danger but also my family in danger,” Deputy Mubarak said.

His family traveled from a village in rural Afghanistan to Kabul, but getting to the airport was not easy. Deputy Mubarak called his contacts in the U.S. Marines, some of them on the ground in Kabul, as the evacuation was taking place.

Sheriff Hoffman made a call to help, too.

“I picked up the phone and called Sen. Rick Scott and he processed some State Department paperwork so we could at least get them enrolled into the system, so if they did get inside the gate, they would at least be in the system,” said Sheriff Hoffman.

Somehow, as thousands of Afghan citizens crowded around the airport, desperate to leave, Deputy Mubarak’s family was able to make it through.

“For whatever reason, a Taliban guard stepped aside and let them through when their names were being called on the other side of the fence, and it’s a miracle with the tens of thousands of people that were in that crowd that they made it onto the base,” said Sheriff Hoffman.

Thirty-three members of Mubarak’s family were able to make it out. The sheriff believes the country and the community owe Mubarak’s family for their years of service to the U.S. military.

“Just what Deputy Mubarak did for our Marines and our servicemen and for me personally, helping my cousin. But it’s not lost on me that he did it to try and make his country better,” said Sheriff Hoffman.

Now that his nation has fallen once again into the hands of the Taliban, Deputy Mubarak says things are quickly starting to change.

“It shook the country, it shook the people, and the immediate effects are that schools closed, nobody is going to school, they were supposed to go to school. Businesses have stopped, banks have closed,” said Mubarak.

Now that his family is here, he’s looking forward to their future.

“My hopes are big and we have opportunities here,” Mubarak said.

Sheriff Hoffman has established a GoFundMe account to help the family.

“They’re going to need housing. They literally have the clothes on their back. They’re going to need clothing, they’re going to need food, and they’re going to need jobs, and they’re already inquiring through Deputy Mubarak, are we going to be able to find work,” Hoffman said.

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