FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Kevin Metcalf’s weekly routine includes meticulous work finding trafficked children all over the globe. This week, the founder of the National Child Protection Task Force (NCPTF) helped evacuate more than 1,500 children in Afghanistan, ensuring their safety from incoming Taliban leadership.
Metcalf, who’s also the Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for Washington County, said a group of retired military and special ops members stepped in to help evacuate people seeking to flee the country amid regime change after the U.S. federal government decided to pull troops. The group requested the help from the NCPTF, and Metcalf hopped on a plane.
“I just said, ‘The National Child Protection Task Force will be there. We’re going to step up,'” Metcalf said. “I don’t know how we’re going to do it, but we’re going to figure it out.”
Metcalf returned from a country that agreed to help temporarily accept more than 5,000 refugees. He said he couldn’t publicly identify the country but said its government has been instrumental in saving these people’s lives.
I haven’t slept in probably 36 hours or so,” Metcalf said during a KNWA/Fox24 interview Friday night. “I just now landed from coming back.”
More than 1,500 children were evacuated, Metcalf said. Many were unaccompanied minors.
“We have children whose parents couldn’t get out,” Metcalf said. “They made sure that their kids got over that wall or got through the gate.”
These kids grew up in the shadow of the U.S. military, Metcalf said, and the chaos surrounding them didn’t impact their spirits.
“They’re kids,” Metcalf said. “None of this other stuff matters. They’re kids who just need a chance, and we need to give it to them.”
Metcalf left the country before an ISIS suicide bomber killed hundreds of people, including at least 13 U.S. service members. Still, he said he won’t soon forget the conditions he saw firsthand.
“We saw people holding onto planes trying to get out of there,” Metcalf said. “We know the desparation.”
Now, Metcalf said he wants the American public to respond to a new challenge: accepting these children. He said he hopes people contact their lawmakers and legislators to tell them to push for an influx of Afghan children who need to be rehomed.
“What I hope will happen is that this American spirit will one again step up and say we’re going to take those kids,” Metcalf said.