Protecting Afghan Interpreters
Afghans, particularly translators, who served alongside U.S. troops but outside of the Afghan military, played a critical role in the war effort. Aside from providing invaluable intelligence due to their command of languages like Dari and Pashto, and cultural knowledge, Afghan contractors also served as a bridge between U.S. troops and the communities they patrolled. These Afghans now find themselves in a precarious position as the Afghan government is unable to protect them and the Taliban labels them as traitors.
A recent Taliban statement claims that former interpreters are not in danger but also calls on them to show “remorse” and is a far cry from reconciliation. SIV applicants should not be left to potentially be targeted by the Taliban. But in seeking to migrate to the United States, they face a series of byzantine bureaucratic processes that could take years — time they no longer have. Biden’s withdrawal plan should include Afghans who directly supported U.S. troops and are now vulnerable to Taliban reprisals.