Interpreters for U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq have for some time had difficulty getting admission to the United States, in spite of the undoubted peril they are in.
Posted on Liberty Unyielding:
U.S. withdrawal has hit these allies of America especially hard. As the Taliban retake areas of the Afghan hinterland, and Islamic State and other jihadi groups vie for territory in Iraq, the interpreters who risked their lives to work with American troops have found themselves increasingly in danger, with bounties on their heads and threats to their families.
In just one of many cases, interpreter Salkhidad Afghan, who had worked with the Marines and Air Force since 2008, was murdered by the Taliban in May 2015, near Herat. Afghan officials said he had been hunted down, kidnapped, and tortured.
Mr. Afghan applied for a U.S. visa in 2011 — and in 2015 was still waiting.
Sami Kazikhani may fare a little better, although the end of his story isn’t written yet. He was an interpreter for the Marines in 2011 and 2012. He now has a determined United States Marine, retired Sergeant Aaron Fleming, working on his side in America.
Fleming served with Kazikhani in 2012, and his unit recommended Kazikhani for a special visa when the Marines rotated out. Fleming says they couldn’t find out the status of the visa afterward. But the Kazikhani family — Sami, his wife Yasmin, and his baby daughter Roxanna — were still in Afghanistan until just two weeks ago.
Kazikhani began his journey toward Germany the same day the Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi drowned in the Mediterranean Sea. He fled Afghanistan after his wife’s family threatened to behead him and the Taliban put a bounty on his head because of his service as a Marine translator in 2011 and 2012.
Kazikhani, his wife, Yasmiin, and their 10-month-old daughter Roxanna have spent the past week sleeping on the streets of Athens, Belgrade, and Macedonia. Austria provided some comforts denied to them in other locales overwhelmed by the influx of thousands of migrants and refugees from Syria and other nations in the Middle East and North Africa.
According to sources, it isn’t clear where the Kazikhanis are right now. Kazikhani did cross into Austria, and is hoping to get to Germany and apply again for a U.S. visa, probably at our consulate in Frankfurt.
But Germany instituted strict border controls again Sunday evening, after being flooded with some 40,000 refugees over the weekend, and news media report huge crowds and delays at the border between Austria and Germany. It simply isn’t known whether Sami Kazikhani and his family have been able to get through to Germany.
So, here’s a soldier that worked along our soldiers from America to fight the bad guys in Afghanistan and Obama couldnt’ give him a visa to our country in return for his service to our country? Wow! It certainly doesn’t surprise me.
But what kind of country are we, that we fail to honor Sami Kazikhani’s service by expediting him out of Afghanistan with U.S. resources? I think it’s pretty sad.
But don’t worry, Obama recently announced that we WILL be accepting at least 10,000 additional Syrian refugees. The problem is….we have no “vetting” system to verify Sami versus some scumbag ISIS refugee.
If you would like to help the Kazikhanis, Aaron and Marion Fleming are crowdfunding for them here.
Written by Nancy Hayes
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