Serving Those Who Serve Serving Those Who Serve

Afghan interpreters for the U.S. military describe fear for their safety

Serving Those Who Serve

DENVER (KDVR) — Afghanis who interpreted for the U.S. military face say they face significant threats to their safety.

Through a translator, an Afghan man, who may not be identified for his safety, shared his fear of an Afghanistan taken over by the Taliban once more.

“He is concerned about his future in Kabul.”

“He is concerned about his family because he has been working with telecom.”

Supporters of the Taliban carry the Taliban’s signature white flags in the Afghan-Pakistan border town of Chaman, Pakistan, Wednesday, July 14, 2021. The Taliban are pressing on with their surge in Afghanistan, saying Wednesday that they seized Spin Boldaka, a strategic border crossing with Pakistan, the latest in a series of key border post to come under their control in recent weeks. (AP Photo/Tariq Achkzai)

The lives of his family are threatened because he worked with American contractors.

“Recently, my city, my province, it’s just totally fallen to the Taliban.”

In the past few days, insurgents have overtaken 18 of the Afghanistan’s 34 provincial capitals, including Kandahar. The U.S. is sending more than 3,000 troops to the country to help evacuate Americans and U.S. diplomats.

The translator, who also will not be identified for her own safety, is currently a refugee in Turkey.

Even thousands of miles away, the grip of the Taliban threatened her and her family.

“I’m getting death threats by the Taliban,” she said.

“They are just ‘outcasting’ me from their tribe, from their religion, from Islam because I’m a woman,” she said.

Not just because she’s a woman, but because she offended the Taliban’s custom: “They are saying that a Muslim woman should not work with Americans.”

FILE – In this Friday, Dec. 11, 2009, file photo, United States Marine Sgt. Isaac Tate, left, and Cpl. Aleksander Aleksandrov, center, interview a local Afghan man with the help of a translator from the 2nd MEB, 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion on a patrol in the volatile Helmand province of southern Afghanistan. More than 200 Afghans were due to land Friday, July 30, in the United States in the first of several planned evacuation flights for former translators and others as the U.S. ends its nearly 20-year war in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer, File)

‘Get all of them out of there’

Angel Guma, a retired U.S. Army Specialist of Denver, relied on people like her while he fought in Afghanistan from 2011-12.

“The interpreters were basically the fault line between the United States and Afghanistan,” Guma said.

“They need to get all of them out of there,” he said.

The translator said her ultimate goal is getting out for her family’s future.

“Especially for my daughter. I just want to get out of here. Turkey is not a safe place for me,” she said.

Some of the interpreters we talked said they’re in the process of acquiring visas to relocate to the U.S.

Others said that process can be confusing and long — keeping them in the sights of the Taliban.

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