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"It was death": Local Afghan combat interpreter recounts face-to-face encounter with the Taliban

The Jacksonville resident's final mission was to evacuate people from Kandahar Airport. He described the chaos as the "end of the world."

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Kaihan scrolls through his phone every now and then to relive the horror of what took place in Afghanistan. 

He now lives in Jacksonville. He was an Afghan combat interpreter. His final mission was to go from Kabul to Kandahar International Airport during the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

"I was just like making sure I should have enough ammo to fight with those people until I had been killed," Kaihan said. He only wants his first name published for safety reasons.

The people he was referring to were the Taliban. With the Taliban stalking Kaihan and his unit from the perimeter, he was tasked with getting planes from Kabul to Kandahar for the evacuation.

"Nobody was listening everybody was running and jumping and they were still shooting guns and in the meantime we were receiving mortars we were receiving indirect fires from Taliban snipers any kind of weapons in the same time aircraft was landing and people were getting on board," Kaihan said. 

Kaihan described it as the end of the world. The doomsday event, when he got word that Kabul fell.

It was soon after that his commander at Kandahar decided to abandon their current position at the airport. A move that allowed the Taliban to inch closer.

"I saw like bunch of the Taliban that they show up from the hangers and I was really scared like really scared like who is not scared from death," he said.

Sensing he may not make it off the airstrip Kaihan made a bold move. Face-to-face with the Taliban he negotiated safe air passage out of Kandahar. 

"The aircraft just came with a dead engine and it just approached to us and it was very loud and trying to escape," Kaihan said.

A daring escape, thousands of lives saved, and one that just started. Kaihan's wife gave birth to their daughter on board a plane out of Afghanistan. he already has a vision for her life in America.

"Whatever she loves to do but especially for me I really want her to be pilot of F-35 jet air pilot that's what it really want," Kaihan said with a smile.

Kahain and his family were welcomed to Jacksonville Friday night in Jacksonville Beach. 

Save our Allies, a direct-response Afghan rescue organization, along with the Greater Beaches VFW Post 3270, hosted the event.

Kahain's family was sponsored by Carol Williams. Williams felt compelled to help after watching news coverage of the Hamid Karzai International Airport withdrawal.