Afghan interpreter Mohammad Janis Shinwari with U.S. Army Capt. Matt Zeller (photo: Mohammad Janis Shinwari)
The Obama administration has denied numerous Afghan interpreters entry into the United States, even though they helped the U.S. military and now face death threats from the Taliban.
With American troops planning to pull out next year, the interpreters say insurgents intend to kill them and their families for supporting the U.S. occupation. But the State Department has repeatedly rejected the visa applications of these men, saying there is no serious threat against them.
The interpreters beg to differ.
“There are tons of Talibs in my village, and they all know that I worked with the Americans,” one interpreter, Mohammad, who asked that his last name not be published for security reasons, told The Washington Post after being denied a visa. “If I can’t go to the States, my life is over. I swear to God, one day the Taliban will catch me.”
A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Robert Hilton, refused to explain to the newspaper what constituted a “serious threat.”
Some members of Congress want to help the Afghan interpreters.
“There’s no excuse for thousands of people who have helped our troops being stranded there with their lives endangered,” Representative Jim Moran (D-Virginia) told Army Times. “We really have a moral responsibility here to move this, and the consequences likely to befall the people who need those visas we don’t want to contemplate.”
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