Sheriff, senator help Sarasota County deputy rescue 33 family members from Afghanistan

A Sarasota County sheriff's deputy from Afghanistan, who worked as an interpreter for the U.S. military for several years, was able to get 33 family members out of Kabul with the help of the sheriff and Sen. Rick Scott.

Sheriff Kurt Hoffman and Florida Sen. Scott worked together to help get Deputy Mubarak's family to the Kabul airport before the Aug. 31 deadline.

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Before he wore a badge with the sheriff's office, Deputy Mubarak worked as a translator for the U.S. military in Afghanistan. His father encouraged him, knowing the opportunities and the hope for freedom.

For years, he guided U.S. Special Forces in the country and worked alongside the sheriff's cousin, now-retired U.S. Marine Col. Randy Hoffman.

Because of his work to help the U.S. military in Afghanistan, Mubarak was granted citizenship in the United States. He brought his wife and children to the U.S. and continued to work with the military at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Quantico in Virginia, and Twentynine Palms and Camp Pendleton in California.

Sarasota County Sheriff's Deputy Mubarak

Mubarak earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in Indiana, then moved his family to Sarasota in March 2021. He joined the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office a month later.

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When the U.S. began its withdrawal from Afghanistan, Mubarak's family became worried and called him.

"I told them I would do everything I could to help them get out," he told FOX 13. "Once I committed them to leave their houses and villages and moving towards Kabul then I felt responsible for making sure that they actually get on one of those planes and leave Kabul."

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Two days spent at the Kabul airport, with Sheriff Hoffman and Sen. Scott working leads, paid off.

"What Deputy Mubarak did for our country put his sisters and brothers-in-law, family members in harm's way. The Taliban was eventually going to make their way to them had we not got them onto the airport at Kabul," Hoffman said. "When we got the word that they were inside the fence, we could take a breath."

Thirty-three out of 34 of his family members made it safely to the airport and were able to fly out of the country. Sadly, Mubarak's father died of an apparent heart attack while preparing to make his way to the airport.

Hundreds of Afghan refugees pack a U.S. military plane. (Credit: U.S. Air Force)

Because of Mubarak's work with U.S. Special Forces and the imminent danger to his family, the sheriff's office said the deputy's relatives are being processed with Special Immigrant Visas through the U.S. State Department.

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The deputy's family members who were evacuated out of the Kabul airport are now in Fort Bliss, Texas, and will soon arrive in Sarasota. Because of his father's passing, Mubarak is now the elder in his family and will be responsible for taking care of his relatives, many of whom are from rural villages.

"They were unable to bring any belongings and are literally traveling with the clothes on their back," the sheriff's office said. "For that reason, we have been working diligently to establish a game plan including building a network of resources for these 33 Afghans, many of whom are women and children. These families will need housing, employment, food, clothing, and other essentials, and that is just the beginning."

The sheriff's office created a GoFundMe page on Deputy Mubarak's behalf to help his 33 family members begin their new life in Sarasota in a few weeks.

It's a new beginning that will be built out of his father's hopes and dreams for a better future for his family.

"He would have told me, ‘Remember, I told you to work with them. Be honest, do your work and do it right and everything will be OK,’" Mubarak said.