One year ago, the final U.S evacuation flight left Afghanistan, marking the end of America's war in Afghanistan.
Thousands of allies of the U.S. in Afghanistan — who risked their lives as Afghans working with American troops — watched the flight leave as the Taliban took control over the country.
Over the last year, an Afghan man stayed in touch with WPTV's Meghan McRoberts with updates on what conditions were like for him, and the challenges that remain preventing his family's safe evacuation from the country.
"We are not safe at all. We're hiding ourselves in the basement," the man, who we are not identifying for his safety, said in August 2021.
Today, he said conditions have not gotten any better under the Taliban's control.
It’s something that local veteran Michael Clarke says keeps him up at night. He worked with the Afghan man — a husband and father of six — when he served in Afghanistan.
"He was the guy with the concrete," Clarke said. “They were very eager to work with the United States."
He also said the Afghan people often risked their safety to work with the United States.
"And that's why I'm trying so hard to get these guys back because I know what they were like, and I know they did a lot for me, so that’s the least I could do," Clarke said.
He has written letters and tried to work through U.S Rep. Brian Mast's office and the state department to try to expedite approvals for SIVs (Special Immigrant Visas) and documents needed to help allies evacuate.
He said he helped 15 allies he knew. Now, he said he's lost touch with 12, and only one has gotten out of Afghanistan.
"I feel guilty that I can't help them more, I really do," Clarke said. "The last year has really worn on me."
The Afghan ally that WPTV stayed in touch through WhatsApp with told us in September that "security is not good. I have not received any messages from the U.S. government."
"I'm always inside the house and can not go anywhere in Afghanistan. Security is not good and there is no work and no money. I’m very tired and upset," he wrote in November.
"I do not have a suitable place to live," he said days before Christmas. "My economic situation is very bad."
He waited six months for his SIV to be approved, as the state department dealt with enormous backlogs of applications.
The Association of Wartime Allies reported more than 74,000 applicants, not including applicants' family members.
Now, the man still can't secure a safe path to evacuate and is trying to get on a state department evacuation list or find help through a charitable organization to get to Pakistan or Qatar.
"Taliban are trying to kill the people … they are measuring the number of people killed," his most recent message in August 2022 said.
"I can't imagine a society where you're trying to take care of your own kids and your own wife and have to deal with people that could possibly come in there and kill them," Clarke said.
Mast said he anticipated allies would be in this "bad situation" a year later.
"The struggle to get people out of Afghanistan today, a year later, goes directly back to the way the withdrawal took place. You really needed to get those individuals out of Afghanistan prior to pulling out all of the people with the guns, all of our service members," Mast said. "It's absolutely a responsibility for the United States of America to take care of individuals that we promised that we would assist."
Mast, R-Fla., said he predicts 95% of the country will be in poverty by the end of this year, lacking food and medical care.
He said he still has veterans reaching out to his office trying to help their allies overseas.
"What we'll have to do is continue working with those individuals who are applying onto what we call some of our lilypads, countries like Qatar that have taken literally tens of thousands of those that worked with the U.S. into their country while they're being vetted," Mast said.
Even if allies get onto evacuation lists, the documents they must carry hinder the safety of their journey.
"That's the exact same documentation that the Taliban is looking for to target individuals that they will very literally kill in very brutal ways," Mast said.
"If you broke their trust, you never get it back," Clarke said.
According to the Association of Wartime Allies, it could take more than 18 years to successfully bring all Afghan SIV allies to safety. That's almost as long as the entire recent war in Afghanistan.