Veterans organization

Veterans’ organization scrambles to evacuate Afghan interpreters desperate for safety as US troops retreat

As the last US troops left Afghanistan early Tuesday, veterans’ organizations played an active role in helping allies flee the country that fell under Taliban rule.

Among the allies: Akbar, who worked alongside the US military as an interpreter, and who uses a pseudonym to protect his identity. He told Fox News that the Taliban’s current policy is to detain Afghan interpreters and torture them for information before killing them – and he is desperate to find safety for himself and his family.

“The situation is very bad in Afghanistan,” Akbar said. “They’re detaining the performer and they’re getting information from them. It’s so bad they’re not killing him. Right now they’re detaining them just to get information from them. After that they just kill the interpreter.”

Akbar added that he and his family have received death threats, and there are reports that the Taliban have already killed Afghan interpreters.

LAST US TROOPS LEAVE AFGHANISTAN

Retired Army Sgt. Major Gonzalo Lassally said he met Akbar in 2006 in Afghanistan. He said he and Akbar were “deployed” there.

“I say ‘deployed’ because he was part of my unit in Afghanistan,” Lassally explained. “I worked alongside Akbar every day of this deployment. We talked about our families together. We shared stories together. We talked about our cultures together. We got to know each other.”

Akbar highlighted the support he provided to military personnel such as Lassally while they were in Afghanistan, and pleaded for American help to get out of the increasingly unstable country.

“We worked with them shoulder to shoulder against the Taliban,” he said. “We have been working with them for a long time now, we want them to help our family out of Afghanistan. We are in a very bad state and a very bad situation in Afghanistan, we need you to help us.”

“These performers, these friends of ours, they’re brave,” Lassally said. “They helped save lives. They are an honorable people.”

Lassally and several other veterans started an organization called Tarjoman.orgnamed after a word meaning “interpreter”, to help pull those like Akbar out of Taliban control.

“We have established a network of active retired combatants who are all working together to provide as much information as possible to our Afghan allies on the ground,” he said.

REPRESENTING. CRENSHAW ON AFGHANISTAN EVACUATION: STATE DEPARTMENT ‘HAS MANY TO ANSWER’

Lassally said his organization tries to help interpreters and their families unable to travel to Kabul airport by providing information and resources, such as medical assistance, transportation and paying for visas.

Tarjoman.org is not the only organization with this mission. Lassally noted that similar groups came to the aid of US allies in Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover, helping them out of the country and providing support for refugees coming to the United States.

Akbar said he was still trying to bring his wife, children and himself to a neighboring country.

“It’s your guys’ turn to help us,” Akbar said. “It’s your guys’ turn to help us and get me and my family out of Afghanistan.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Lassally said he understood the bureaucratic process providing Afghan allies with the documents they needed to get out of the country would take time, but noted “other ways to help them get out of the country until those things go through the process”.

“We owe it to them,” he continued. “We promised them that after working with us for so long, we would help them, and we have to keep that promise.”