KABUL, Afghanistan (KDVR) — We reached him in the middle of the night, via Zoom, as he made one last plea for safe haven.
“They need to evacuate me and my family from Afghanistan. As I worked for the U.S. forces in Afghanistan honorably, now it’s their time to fulfill their promises and to evacuate me from Afghanistan,” Shirkhan, 31, said through an interpreter.
Shirkhan worked for years with U.S. military forces and private contractors as an interpreter during the Afghanistan war. As the news broke Monday afternoon that he wasn’t on the last military planes out of that country, the despair began to settle in.
‘If they know us’ … they will ‘kill us’
“I don’t understand why it’s hard for Americans to care about people like him,” his friend, Angel Guma, told FOX31.
Guma is a U.S. Army veteran who lives in Denver. He befriended Shirkhan years ago during the war and has been working for weeks to secure his exit from the war-torn country.
But paperwork problems have prevented it. Guma said Shirkhan is missing crucial human resources documents that would prove his employment with U.S. forces and contractors. Without the forms, it has been impossible to get an SIV, or Special Immigrant Visa, for Shirkhan.
For now, Shirkhan is holed up at his darkened home near Kabul, worried about his future.
“We are not going out at all from home. We are not working. Because there is a lot of Taliban. If they know us, if they know us and we worked with the (coalition) forces, they (are) gonna kill us,” he told FOX31.
“Look at what’s happening to him. He’s going to remain there in that dark place, up until the point the Taliban finds him,” Guma said, sounding the alarm for help from anyone who can offer it. “And then what’s going to happen is he’s going to stop responding to me. He’s just going to stop responding to me one day. And I’m going to know what happened.”
Guma has reached out to the military, private contractors and Colorado lawmakers, hoping to get help for Shirkhan. But so far, nothing has worked. And with the U.S. war now officially over in Afghanistan, getting Shirkhan out of harm’s way will be a far greater challenge than either of them anticipated.