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Is the US Abandoning Afghan Interpreters to Certain Death?

1,842 views 16 hours ago
"Interpreters have become a very big target of the Taliban and Al Queda," says Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.). "There's been a lot of beheadings of people that have worked with the West."

Janis Shinwari, who served as an interpreter for years, was able to escape that fate and moved to Virginia in October with his wife and two children. His visa came largely due to the efforts of Army Capt. Matt Zeller, whose life he saved (Shinwari is credited with saving the lives of at least four other American soldiers). In 2008, Zeller returned to the U.S. while Shinwari stayed in Afghanistan to continue his work as an interpreter.

Yet the visa program designed to bring interpreters to the U.S. is slated to end in September, stranding as as many as 6,000 Afghan locals who will almost surely be killed in retaliation for helping the American war effort.

Increasing and extending the visa program is "the right thing to do," says Rep. Kinzinger, who stresses not just the promises the U.S. made in the past but how abandoning local partners will affect operations in future wars. "America is going to find itself in another war one day—it's a reality. And then if we go in and we try to bring the local population on our side, and they look at history and look at all the promises we made in the past that we didn't follow through [on], that harms our national security because we can't convince them that America stands by its word."

About 6 minutes.

Produced by Amanda Winkler. Camera by Joshua Swain and Winkler. Narrated by Todd Krainin.

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