The Toronto Star published an article today chronicling the story of Mohammad, an Afghan interpreter who lost family members because of his involvement in NATO’s war against the Taliban. Mohammad, who now lives in California with an American friend he met while stationed with the Marines, was just 17 when he began accompanying American patrols on dangerous missions in Helmand Province, often twice per day. After eight months of service, he was given leave for the Eid holiday and called his mother to tell her that he would be coming home soon.
What Mohammad heard next was shocking: the Taliban had kidnapped and killed his father after inquiring as to Mohammad’s whereabouts. When he was found, Mohammad’s father was missing several fingers and had major injuries all over his body – indicative of torture.
Two year’s later, Mohammad’s younger brother, who was just three years old at the time, was abducted by the Taliban. While he was eventually ransomed back to the family, unharmed, the transaction alone cost the family their life savings. At that point, after losing his money, his father, and almost his toddler brother, Mohammad decided he and his family had to leave Afghanistan.
With the help of his friends in the Marines, and the legal assistance of IRAP, Mohammed applied for a Special Immigrant Visa, which he truly deserved, from Pakistan. However, even after interviewing with the US embassy in Islamabad, he didn’t receive one for several years. Only after IRAP and then-returned Marines pressured their representatives did Mohammad finally gain admittance to the United States. Since then, he has begun school and started working. IRAP is extremely glad for Mohammad, especially considering what he and his family have been through, and hopes his family will soon be able to move to America and be with him.
Mohammad’s case is yet another example of the incredible dedication of our Afghan allies during Operation Enduring Freedom. People like him, who have given so much to our country, should not have to wait so long to get legal status in America. IRAP pledges to continue to work hard to make SIV’s more readily available to allies of ours who desperately need them.