Cooper Hefner, an Air Force reservist, is part of an effort to assist Afghan refugees fleeing their country since the Taliban takeover in August
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Cooper Hefner
Cooper Hefner
| Credit: Gabe Ginsberg/Getty

Cooper Hefner is opening up about his stateside deployment to help Afghan refugees coming to the U.S., saying the effort has been "extraordinarily rewarding."

Hefner, who has served as a reservist in the Air Force since March 2019, was sent to New Jersey's Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst to support Afghan families as they resettle.

McGuire is one of the primary bases that has been processing Afghan refugees since the Taliban takeover in August. There, military and federal service members have been providing a range of services for Afghans, such as initial processing, COVID-19 testing and medical assistance.

"Tomorrow I return home from Operation Allies Welcome, the contingency resettlement effort underway at McGuire AFB," the businessman-turned-political candidate and son of late Playboy founder Hugh Hefner captioned a series of photos shared to Twitter and Instagram on Friday.

"Deploying to support families starting a new chapter of life in the United States has been extraordinarily rewarding," wrote Cooper, 30. "Bright days ahead for our Afghan friends."

Cooper Hefner
Cooper Hefner
| Credit: Cooper Hefner/Instagram

Operation Allies Welcome refers to the coordinated efforts of branches within the federal government to support the most vulnerable Afghans (including those who worked alongside U.S. service members) looking to safely resettle in America away from the resurgent extremist group now largely in control of their country.

Thousands in Afghanistan scrambled to flee the Taliban after the group took hold of the capital and major cities this summer at the end of the U.S. war.

While the American military withdrew, the Afghan government and security forces collapsed.

In the final weeks of the U.S. military presence, some 130,000 people were airlifted out of the country in what was one of the largest mass evacuations in history, with tens of thousands more expected to be evacuated after the exit deadline.

Cooper Hefner
Cooper Hefner
| Credit: Cooper Hefner/Instagram

Recent reports indicate that roughly 65,000 Afghans who have arrived on American soil since the Taliban's takeover still await resettlement and now find themselves at U.S. military bases.

Cooper is a Los Angeles native who joined the family business at 21, eventually becoming Playboy Enterprises' chief of global partnerships and the chief creative officer.

He left his father's firm in 2019 to launch his own digital media company and then branched out from media into politics, launching a bid for a California state Senate seat last year.

"I would not be on this road if I did not feel strongly that there was an opportunity to win and as a result, make a difference," Cooper told CNN at the time.

He currently works in the private sector, in executive management, but has begun to focus more on public service in recent years.

He married actress Scarlett Byrne in 2019 and welcomed a daughter with her last August.