The roots of Team 11 is in the US Army Special Forces, and our motto De Oppresso Liber- "To Free the Oppressed". It's hard to imagine something more impactful than aiding an oppressed person, and we aim to share the results of your generosity.
8/15:ONE YEAR SINCE KABUL FELL
The risks in clearing IEDs for America’s spearhead force cannot be understated, but ripping the veneer away from their core purpose reveals an unsettling truth: they were employed by the US (not Afghan) Government to hold the minesweeper so that an American didn’t have to. While their skills were exceptional, the law of averages clearly indicates that ultimately, they were to take the IED blasts so that Americans could return home.
As it stands now, their sacrifices are ignored -not forgotten- by our own government.
This July, during a video conference with members of the various NGOs that coalesced due to the continuing crisis, Secretary of State Blinken expressed his gratitude and admiration for our actions. He also fully admitted that “…you all are doing our job… [and] we need you to continue to do so…” In response, I ask only this: Why? Why is it incumbent on American civilians, veterans and active service members to dedicate our own time and resources to rebuild our nation’s honor?
Indeed, this is precisely what is happening, and Team 11 takes it a step further. Everyone who guides and advises the 300 surviving NMRG and their 1,400 family members is a Green Beret or Explosive Ordnance Technician that is still serving. Of the two dozen of us, all but a few are on active duty. This is corroborated in a recent New York Sun Report.
Yesterday marked the end of eight months of operations for Team 11. We’ve managed to do some good things, but I promise you, barring something unforeseen, month nine is going to eclipse everything we’ve done so far.
To start with, Team 11 is expanding. We are no longer seeking to provide aid for one team of NMRG and their families. This has become a program that advocates for and supports the entirety of all former members of the NRMG Program and their families. This is a 15-fold increase in personnel, from our original count of 130 to roughly 2,000.
It goes without saying that our outreach and fundraising must expand exponentially to fit this ambition. Our new association with the Moral Compass Federation (MCF) has been extremely helpful in that regard, expanding our reach to many new potential fundraising and media avenues. (https://soaa.org/afghanistan/)
August will mark the anniversary of one of the great stains on modern American history: it will be one year since Kabul fell and the US Government completed its ill planned withdrawal at the expense of thousands of our allies. In conjunction with MCF, we will do everything in our power to ensure that it does not go unnoticed. That’s something for another day, but you will hear from us soon on that account.
4TH OF JULY: TEAM 11 STYLE
This Independence Day marks a monumental achievement for this growing organization. On Thursday, Three of the original 17 members of NMRG Team #11 received their visas to the United States. With family included, seven people have the chance for a new life, forever free from an oppression greater than you and I could ever comprehend.
This news is especially poignant for myself, as I was actively guiding six of those people when the bombing at Abbey Gate barred access to the Kabul Airport forever. One of the hardest things I’ve had to do was to tell the members of Team 11 that our evacuation attempts had failed. We promised that we would aid them when able. However, it was up to them to weather the oppression of the Taliban on their own.
And weather it they did.
With immeasurable grit, resourcefulness, and no small amount of courage – those fundamental traits that America aspires to— they evaded the Taliban, survived famine and endured untold hardship. Of course, I would be utterly remiss if I did not mention our donors and supporters. This has been a massively collaborative effort, made possible by over 250 people.
Now, on our nation’s 245th birthday, 313 days after informing Team 11 that our evacuation efforts had failed, seven people stand on the cusp of a future impossibly brighter than anyone of them could ever imagine.
Happy Independence Day, and in the words of the Green Berets that are especially prescient at this moment, De Oppresso Liber!
TEAM 11 BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT
This Team 11 update is coming quite a bit sooner than expected, and unlike our typical letters, we have good news for a change. On June 12th (a birthdate that I am quite partial to), Samia, wife to our very own “Sam” gave birth to a baby girl! (In Afghan culture, names aren’t decided upon immediately, and her eyeshadow in the photo is tradition-not photoshop)
Good news coming out of Afghanistan should be embraced, as it is a pitifully rare occurrence to have something worth celebrating. However, it is tempered with the reality of life there; 13,000 infants died in the first 3 months of 2022. Fortunately, unlike so many Afghans, Sam’s daughter has a support network: all of us.
If you wish to contribute to ensuring their daughter’s health and wellbeing in any form, you can always contact me directly and I can help guide you through the process. Funds can be allocated through the various payment options on our newly updated website (https://www.saveteam11.org), or you can provide funds directly through Aseel’s registration form, in which case I will provide you the necessary personal information. Team 11 is a small organization, and what sets us apart is how close we are to those we endeavor to serve; I will be more than happy to keep our sponsors updated and involved as their baby girl grows and Sam and Samia’s family come ever close to their immigration to the US.
I delayed the monthly newsletter so that I could confirm recent developments. As of this week, we are now operating in collaboration with the Moral Compass Federation; a coalition of Afghanistan-specific non-profits with a military special-operations background similar to our own.
The operant word of this partnership is “federation”: The day to day activities of Team 11 will remain unchanged. MCF (https://soaa.org/afghanistan/) and its parent-nonprofit, the Special Operations Association of America, enhances Team 11’s credibility and expands our networking capacity; vital for spreading awareness and providing a buffer in the event that emergencies arise.