About the Afghans interpreters left behind

I listened to the NY Time’s The Daily podcast earlier today. It is about the Afghans interpreters that helped the US military and their struggle to get out of their country as the Taliban is killing them for having helped coalition forces. On this episode, Lynsea Garrison spoke to 3 interpreters that are trapped in Afghanistan and US military personnel that worked with them. This episode moved me so much in so many aspects that I decided to write about it.

Interpreters helped the US military for pretty much 2 reasons: free their country and have peace. I learned that Afghans interpreters have to work in that role for a minimum of 2 years in order to be able to apply for a special immigration visa. Even after meeting the requirements for applying for the visa, the US Government has been extremely slow (taking months to years) in processing these applications. With the quick fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, the interpreters currently in Afghanistan and their families will be killed by the new regime because the are considered infidels for having aided the coalition forces. These interpreters are in dire need to be evacuated immediately.

Some of the things these interpreters say in the interviews are chilling. Things like one who would follow up with Lynsea in coming days, if he’s alive. Or that getting out within the next 3 days is crucial, otherwise he is doomed to die. One prefers to suffer or even die instead of having his family hurt. I wish no person would think or say things like those I heard interpreters say in the podcast. However, it’s a reality; it’s happening today. This was an eye-opening for me.

On the other side, the men who were stationed in Afghanistan and worked with the interpreters talked to Lynsea and shared their frustration with how slow the US Government is with the processing of visas to those Afghans who assisted the US. It is very moving to hear these men talk about the interpreters’ dedication, their aspirations, and the strong relationship built between them. These men are dedicated to get the interpreters out of Afghanistan and on US soil.

One of these men is Colin Daniels. Daniels states he served a total of 16 months in Afghanistan, between 3 deployments. Based on the US Government’s requirement of 2 years of service for an Afghan interpreter to request the special visa, Daniels would not qualify if he were an interpreter. His interpreter, Abdul, meets the 2 year service requirement and still has not received his visa.

The statement that impacted me the most on this podcast was Colin Daniels’. He says:

“At what point is service to the United States enough, in combat? Does it have to be 2 years? Does it have to be 18 months? Does it have to be 36 months? Where do we draw the line on how valuable this person was to us?

It feels as if these individuals are insignificant and can be discarded by both the US Government and the Taliban.

I am glad these men are speaking up and bringing up this problem to light. I admire them for their humanity and dedication to personally help get their interpreters out to safety.

I can only imagine how painful, tiresome, frustrating, and exhausting these efforts must be for Daniels and others during these difficult times. Their resilience and perseverance are the ultimate example of what is to ‘do the right thing’ and not giving up.

I’m an IT professional, married, mother of 4 awesome adults, and have a wondeful grandson. I want to write about what moves me as I find it healing.