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America's Afghan And Iraqi Interpreters Risk Lives But Wait Years In Danger For Visas


By Katharine Allen & Barry S. Olsen

Published: 01 July 2013


From the Huffington Post...


Article excerpt: “The Americans are not going to be here forever,” Taliban militants told Faizi while he was on assignment in a Kandahar prison. “Now we know your face.” They vowed to the 27-year-old, U.S.-contracted linguist that they would find him the moment the Americans pulled out of Afghanistan.


Faizi knew those were no idle threats. When suicide bombers attacked the base his friend and colleague Farhad was working on, the linguist was the first one to be targeted. “The first thing they did was shoot him,” Faizi says.


Link to the full news story.


InterpretAmerica's take: Interpreters in all sectors often work in challenging situations, especially those in community settings, who may find themselves interpreting for the police during violent situations, helping women to flee domestic abuse, or on the ground during accidents or natural disasters. But none have faced more danger than civilian interpreters contracted in Afghanistan and Iraq to serve the allied armed forces. With the wars coming to an end and troops headed for their respective home countries, many of these interpreters are contending with hostile conditions in their home countries and attempting to find asylum in the countries of the armed forces they interpreted for. In the US, their fate now rests with an extension of the Special Immigrant Visa program, set to expire in the next few months and awaiting a vote by the US Congress. Though far removed from our daily work lives here in the US, these interpreters deserve our attention and support.

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