Showing posts with label interpreters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label interpreters. Show all posts

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Afghan War News Snippets

More Visas for Interpreters. A U.S. Senate committee has approved 4,000 more Visas for Afghans who worked for the U.S. military as interpreters or support staff. The Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program is designed to help Afghans who assisted the U.S. in the Afghan conflict to immigrate to the United States. See "U.S. Senate Committee Approves 4,000 More Special Visas for Afghans", Gandhara, June 29, 2017.

Key Leader Training for RS HQs Advisors. The Resolute Support Headquarters conducts a 4-day training course for those military personnel who are assigned to be advisors to the MoD or MoI. One day the 'newcomer's briefing day' - learning the aspects of living and working in Afghanistan on Camp RS in Kabul. A second day is Guardian Angel training - ensuring that you are aware of and know how to respond to an insider threat or green-on-blue incident. Two days is spent on learning how RS HQs conducts its Security Force Assistance (SFA) mission and how the RS HQs staff works within the 8 Essential Functions framework. Read more in "Resolute Support trains its people, improving advisor training", U.S. Central Command, June 26, 2017.

Logistics Advising in Afghanistan. The current coalition mission in Afghanistan is to train, advise, and assist (TAA) the Afghan police and military. From a logistics standpoint, creating a self-sustaining afghan military is an important step forward to ensure the Afghans can independently secure their borders and provide for internal security. A logistics advisor, to be effective, must understand that the Western military logistics framework and culture is not a good fit for Afghanistan's military or culture. Read more in "Moving forward with logistics advising in Afghanistan",, May 1, 2017.

Report: Islamic State in Afghanistan. Abdul Basit has penned a 21-page article entitled "IS Penetration in Afghanistan-Pakistan: Assessment, Impact and Implications", Perspectives on Terrorism, Volume 11, No 3, June 2017. IS is now competing with al-Qaeda and the Taliban over recruitment, resources, and the loyalties of local militant groups. This has complicated the militant landscape, contributed to the Sunni-Shia conflict, and adds complexity to the effort of the Afghan government and its coalition partners.

Air Force Cross Awarded. An airman was awarded the Air Force Cross for heroism during the 2002 Operation Anaconda that took place in the Takur Gar area of Afghanistan. TSgt Keary Miller provided critical medical care to 10 wounded U.S. service members under dangerous conditions. Read more in "Survival on Takur Gar", Air Force Magazine, August 2017.

Bowe Bergdahl Trial Update. Bergdahl's long, drawn-out trial is proceeding ahead. A military judge made a key ruling saying that prosecutors can try the soldier on the charge of endangering his comrades by walking off his post in Afghanistan in 2009. See "Bowe Bergdahl case: Judge lets rare misbehavior charge proceed", Army Times, June 30, 2107.

BBC Podcast on Silk Road. This 40-minute long podcast is entitled "Silk Routes: Two Thousand Years of Trading". The economic highway from China, across Central Asia and Afghanistan, to Iran.

China's Silk Road in Afghanistan is a Bumpy Ride. The Chinese have made some important steps forward in providing investments in some key sectors of the Afghan - most notable is the mining sector. However, the return on investment is disappointing due to the deteriorating security situation. Read more in "Difficult Trek on Silk Road in Afghanistan", Asia Sentinel, June 29, 2017.

Afghans Fighting for Assad in Syria. Iran, over the past several years, has pressed into service citizens of Afghanistan to fight for the Assad regime in Syria. There are an estimated 8,000 to 12,000 Afghans fighting in the Syrian conflict. Read "How Iran Recruited Afghan Refugees to Fight Assad's War", The New York Times, June 30, 2017.

General Dunford Visits Afghanistan. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs (and former ISAF commander) visited Kabul and Helmand province to gain ground truth on the Afghan conflict. See "Dunford arrives in Afghanistan as Marines work to rekindle relations in Helmand", Military Times, June 26,2017.

Video of Guardian Angel Training. Australian troops in Afghanistan are conducting the train, advise, and assist mission. This entails advisors and trainers visiting Afghan police and Army installations and garrisons. With the constant threat of insurgent attacks as well as the insider threat the need exists for a force protection element to accompany the advisors on their missions. Watch a short video about Australian soldiers assigned the "Guardian Angel" task of keeping their fellow Aussie soldiers safe in Guardian Angels Protecting Australian Soldiers in Afghanistan, Perth Now, June 27, 2017.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Refugees, Migrants, and Interpreters

Afghan Migrants. Many refugees from Afghanistan are making their way (via people smugglers) across Iran into Turkey where they hope to either find work (and a place to live) or a way to get to Europe. However, Europe has begun the process of closing its doors after being overwhelmed with refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, and north Africa in 2015. Read more in "Afghans feel forgotten in Europe's migrant crisis"Reuters, March 6, 2016.

Young People Desperate to Leave Afghanistan. There is not a lot of opportunity for young Afghans. However Europe is no longer the promised land. Slovenia, Croatia, and Macedonia (long the transit nations for the migrant populations heading to Scandinavia and Germany) has been closing its borders. Economic migrants from Afghanistan are no longer welcome. Watch a video 1-minute long video entitled Determined to Leave Afghanistan, Even as Europe's Borders Close, Radio Free Europe, March 10, 2016.

Empty Promises for Migrants. Many Afghans making the treacherous journey to Europe are finding the promises made by human smugglers are not fulfilled. Read more in "European Dream Unfulfilled for Afghan Economic Migrants"Radio Free Europe, March 10, 2016.

CRS Report SIV. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) recently published a report on the Special Immigrant Visa program for Iraqi and Afghan interpreters (February 26, 2016).

Canada: Interpreters Wait While Refugees Accepted. I guess one has to wonder which government is treating former Afghan interpreters worse. Is it Canada or the United States. Neither government seems to give much priority to the Afghan interpreters to whom our military owes so much. Read more in "Refugees fast-tracked but interpreter forced to wait"Toronto Sun, March 8, 2016.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Afghan War News Snippets

Pakistan Harboring Taliban Leaders? It would seem this is true based on recent statements by Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan's advisor for foreign affairs. In an unusually candid admission he said that Islamabad has considerable influence over the Taliban because its leaders live in the country. Read more in "Senior Official Admits Pakistan Housing Afghan Taliban Leaders", Gandhara Blog, March 2, 2016.

Pakistan and Durand Line. Former President Karzai recently said that Pakistani leadership wanted recognition of the imposed international border called the Durand Line in exchange for better relations with Afghanistan. Read a news report by Khaama Press, March 1, 2016.

Russia Seeking Role in Afghanistan. "More than two decades after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, Moscow is once again seeking to play a major role in the country by boosting military and economic cooperation with Kabul." Read more in "Russia's new role in Afghanistan", Deutsche Welle, March 2, 2016.

Peace Talks? Move Along . . . Nothing to See Here. It appears that all the talk about talking about an end to the conflict is just that . . . just a lot of talk. Read more in "Afghan Taliban refuse peace talks with government", Associated Press, March 5, 2016. See also "Afghan Peace Talks Face Uncertainty", Voice of America, March 4, 2016. And one more "Paying High Price for Peace: The Afghan High Peace Council Quagmire", Eurasia Review, March 5, 2016.

Curbing the Afghan Refugee Influx. The northern European nations started out welcoming refugees of all sorts (Syrian, Afghan, African, etc.) but they were soon overwhelmed - and now the tune has changed. Read more in "Rolling Up the Welcome Mat" Berlin Moves to Curb Afghan Refugees Influx", Spiegel Online International, March 2, 2016.

Young Boys as Refugees. There is a rise in the number of young Afghan boys who are now in Europe. Read more in "Afghan Boys: the New Face of Europe's Migrant Crisis", Associated Press, March 3, 2016.

UK Says Afghanistan "Safe". A United Kingdom court has ruled that Afghanistan is now safe enough to resume deportations of Afghan.

State Dept Fixes Blunder On SIV Visa. Some Afghan interpreters received a reprieve when the Department of State fixed a mistake in the government's management of a special visa program for Afghan interpreters. Some former interpreters had found out their applications had been denied through a faulty interpretation (or was it intentional?) by the State Department of a recent Congressional law. Read more in "State Department Fixes Unfair Visa Change", The New York Times, March 1, 2016.

Movie Review - "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot". Tina Feys new movie about a TV reporter on her first international assignment is getting mostly positive reviews. Read "Q. and A. With Tina Fey: Live Form Kabul, It's a Feminist Comedy", The New York Times, March 4, 2016.

Agricultural Research. Ongoing research on wheat and other crops in research farms across Afghanistan is contributing to better harvests and improved welfare among farmers. Read more in "Agricultural Research Gives Farmers a New Lease on Life", The World Bank, March 2, 2016.

Gender Stuff. The United Nations has released its 2015 report entitled The World's Women 2015: Trends and Statistics.

More on TAPI. "Afghanistan is preparing to start work on the key Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) Gas Pipeline project." The Ministry of Mines and Petroleum will be implementing the project. Of course, 735 kilometers of the pipeline will pass through Afghanistan . . . so what is the security plan? There is none other than some schemes and dreams on the part of the MoI and MoD. Read more in "Afghanistan Prepares to Start Work on TAPI", Tolo News, March 2, 2016.

India-Iran-Afghanistan Trilateral Transit Corridor. Afghanistan is attempting to revitalize its economy with a number of regional initiatives to revitalize trade and commerce. Of course, a huge factor is the establishment of security and stability in Afghanistan. Read more in "India-Iran-Afghanistan transit corridor talks in progress", Economic Times (India),  March 2, 2016.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Afghan War News Snippets

Borders Closing to Afghan Migrants. The country of Macedonia has closed its southern border with Greece to Afghan migrants but will allow entry for Iraqis and Syrians. Countries to the north of Macedonia have closed their borders to Afghans so this has caused a 'domino effect' where no nation was to be the ultimate final stop for the migrants. Read more in "Greece: Macedonia has closed its borders to Afghan migrants", Associated Press, February 21, 2016.

Clashes as Result of Borders Closing. Clashes are taking place between Afghan asylum seekers and Greek riot police as a result of Macedonia closing its borders to Afghans. Read more in "Policy Shifts on Refugees Lead to Clashes Between Migrants and Police", The New York Times, February 23, 2016.

Afghan Migration Report. A couple of organizations, RUSI and BAAG, have collaborated on a report entitled Migration & Development: The Case of Afghanistan, London Roundtable - 16th December 2015, published on 19 Feb 2016.

Asylum Seekers Disillusioned. "A special plane from Germany carrying rejected Afghan asylum seekers has landed in Kabul. What prospects do these people now have in their home country?" Read "Disillusionment driving Afghan asylum seekers back home"Deutsche  Welle, February 25, 2016.

Movie - Day One. This movie about an Afghan female interpreter has been nominated for an Academy Award in the short film, live active category. The director of the movie, Henry Hughes, is a combat veteran who spent a tour in Afghanistan with the 173rd. Read more in "Cavalry scout-turned-filmaker is headed to the Oscars, interpreter in tow", Military Times, February 25, 2016.

Afghan Interpreter Aided by Army Reservist. A U.S. Army reservist was instrumental in helping an ally from his war tour to gain entry to the United States. Read more in "Army Reserve Soldier welcomes former interpreter to America", DVIDS, February 24, 2016.

Movie - Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. One of my favorite move stars, Tin Fey, stars in a movie about a news reporter in Afghanistan. Evidently it is based on the adventures of journalist Kim Barker who spent some time as a reporter in Afghanistan. Hits the theaters on March 4th. The blonde that plays her sidekick is "hot", so that alone is worth the price of admission. In the states she would be a "Ten"; in Afghanistan a "Thirty". Watch the trailer here.

Bin Laden and McRaven. Admiral McRaven was head of the special operations unit that got the head of al Qaeda in Pakistan and many remember him for that but he would rather be remembered for the totality of 37 years service. Read more in "McRaven now appreciates impact in U.S. of his bin Laden raid", The Tampa Tribune, February 25, 2016.

U.S. Payments for MSF Clinic Bombing - Not Enough? The U.S. military is paying thousands of dollars to wounded survivors and relatives of the 2 Afghans killed when a U.S. AC-130 gunship attacked a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders in Kunduz city this past October 2015. Families of the deceased will receive up to $6,000. Read more in "U.S. payments to Afghans in hospital attack called inadequate", Military Times, February 26, 2016.

U.S. Money Still Flowing. "How to track the taxpayer money helping to rebuild the country is a key question as budget battles begin this week." Read more in "U.S. Money Will Keep Flowing to Afghanistan As Oversight Plummets", Huffpost Politics, February 24, 2016.

DoD Probe Into Afghan Sex Abuse. "The Pentagon's inspector general is launching a 'full assessment' into multiple reports that the U.S. military encouraged troops to ignore their Afghan allies' sexual abuse of children." The practice of bacha bazi - or boy play - is one that has captured the attention of the western media and that sometimes puts American servicemen into difficult cultural and moral situations. Read a memo by the DoDIG dated February 19, 2016 on this topic.

Kabul Power Restored? After weeks of a partial blackout in the capital city electrical power has been restored. Afghanistan's national power company repaired power lines near the northern border with Uzbekistan that were cut by Taliban insurgents in January. The lines supply 280 of the 600 megawatts of power consumed daily in Kabul. Bad winter weather and security concerns delayed repairs for weeks prompting may Kabul residents to question the Afghan government.

Video Games, Deployment, and Rage Quitting. I seen lots of Soldiers playing video games on deployments; I was never into nor did I have the spare time. But evidently there is something called "Rage Quitting" - which is what happens when you combine a slow deployment in Afghanistan and video games. Read more in "A True Story of Rage Quitting in Afghanistan", Task and Purpose, February 26, 2016.

Corruption in Afghanistan? Who Knew? An anti-corruption monitoring group says that the Afghan government's official commitment to address the problem is weakening. The independent Monitoring and Evaluation Committee or MEC has released its half-year report. Read more in "Monitoring Group: Corruption Still a Problem in Afghanistan", Voice of America, February 25, 2016.

Women's Rights. Lael Mohib, founder of the Enabled Children Initiative and spouse of Afghanistan's ambassador to the United States, is interviewed in "Advancing Women's Rights in Afghanistan: A Conversation with Lael Mohib", In Asia: Weekly Insight and Analysis, February 24, 2016.

Russia Gives U.S. "Cold Shoulder" Over Afghanistan. Russia is disengaging from any United States efforts to spur peace talks or to establish stability in Afghanistan. Instead Russia is concentrating efforts to ensure security prevails in countries north of Afghanistan. Read more in "Russia Pulls Back From Cooperating With U.S. on Afghanistan", The New York Times, February 20, 2016.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Afghan Refugees & Interpreters

Afghan Refugees. Afghanistan is once again experiencing a huge departure of its citizens. Many are seeking to escape the ongoing (and increasing) violence, some are fearful of a return of the Taliban regime, while others are seeking a greater economic opportunity. Afghan refugees are the second largest group of refugees entering Europe (next to Syrian refugees). The refugee crisis in Europe is at a crisis level and the initial tide of 'reception' is quickly turning to 'rejection' - especially in light of the recent terrorist events in Paris. Some nations are tightening up its refugee policies (Finland, Norway, Germany, etc.). Read more in "Berlin To Fast-Track Deportation of Afghan Economic Refugees", Tolo News, November 16, 2015. See also "Germany launches campaign to deter refugees leaving Afghanistan", Khaama Press, November 15, 2015. See also "German Campaign Asks Afghans to Think Twice Before They Go", Gandhara Blog, November 20, 2015.

Pak Police Not So Friendly to Afghan Refugees. The Human Rights Watch has alleged that police abuses against Afghan refugees in Pakistan have increased significantly during the past year. (Voice of America, Nov 18, 2015). See also "Pakistan: Police Abusing Afghans", Human Rights Watch, November 18, 2015.

Afghan Interpreters. Currently the world is engaged in a debate about what to do with the Syrian refugees. Some want to cut the amount of Syrian refugees entering their countries - citing economic and security reasons. Others want to open the doors to refugees. But there is another group of people that may be more deserving of refuge in Europe and the United States. Read more in "Forget the Syrian refugees. America needs to bring its Afghan and Iraqi interpreters her first", The Washington Post, November 17, 2015.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Afghan Interpreters Betrayed

Interpreters Betrayed. When American troops conducted combat operations in Afghanistan their link to the Afghan population was the Afghan interpreter. The past few years - in the time of the 'train, advise, and assist mission' - the American advisors link to the Afghan security forces is the Afghan interpreter. However, with the huge drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan many of the interpreter were soon unemployed and . . . even worse . . . subject to persecution by the Taliban. Many former interpreters hope to find safety in the countries of the Soldier they served with but there are some bureaucratic obstacles that stand in the way. Read more in "The Long, Slow Betrayal of America's Interpreters", War is Boring, November 9, 2015.

Some Help Available. The U.S. has expanded a special immigrant visa program - a provision in the 2016 defense authorization bill would further expand the number of SIVs for Afghan interpreters to 7,000 a year, up from 4,000. One organization, called No One Left Behind, is helping out the interpreters. Read more in "Some struggling Afghan, Iraqi interpreters get help from charity", Military Times, November 14, 2015. Visit

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Afghan War News Snippets

$43 Million Gas Station Built by DoD in Afghanistan. The Task Force for Stability and Business Operations (TFBSO) built a compressed natural gas (CNG) automobile filling station in Sheberghan, Afghanistan (capital city of Jowzjan province). A similar CNG station in Pakistan costs about $500 thousand. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) wants the DoD to explain the price differential - but DoD says they don't have an explanation. Hmmmm. Read the SIGAR report at the following link.

6 Costly Failures. Joe Perticone tells us about six very expensive projects that didn't quite work out in our efforts to rebuild Afghanistan. (Independent Journal, Nov 4, 2015).

Earthquake Update. Afghanistan was recently hit by a major earthquake - affecting Badakhshan, Nangarhar, Baghlan, and Kunar provinces. Read an update on the Afghanistan earthquake by Humanitarian Response on November 3, 2015. See report by International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies - "Concern mounts as winter sets in across quake-affected regions".

Louie Palu's Kandahar Journals. Photojournalist Louie Palu spent five years covering the war in Afghanistan from 2006 to 2010. A new documentary film entitled Kandahar Journals will premier in November 2015. Photos from the film are available for viewing here. (The Atlantic, Nov 3, 2015).

Tevor Coult's First into Sangin. A book detailing the story of a forgotten platoon and band of men who were the first British Soldiers to occupy 'the House' in Sangin District at the start of the Herrick Campaign. Read a PR release on the book here.

A "Fobbit" Writes about Life on a FOB. Some Soldiers experienced combat on a daily basis in Afghansitan; some 'not so much'. Read "How Forward Operating Bases Created the Illusion of War in Iraq and Afghanistan", The Angry Staff Officer, November 3, 2015.

Solar Power & Afghan Electricity Crisis. Some folks are saying that solar power in Afghanistan can help rescue the economic crisis and electric power shortage. Read more in "Can Solar Power Make Light Work of Afghanistan's Electricity Crisis?", Equal Times, November 5, 2015.

Cdr at Kerala Massacre Arrested. Dutch authorities have arrested the commander of an elite government (444) Army unit of the Afghan communist regime that committed a horrendous massacre of Afghan civilians in Kunar province in April 1979 (over 36 years ago). Read more in a report by the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN).

Iran, Afghan Refugees, and Syria. Iran, with the aim of helping its ally - the Syrian regime - is sending Afghan refugees to fight in the conflict. Read more in "Afghan refugees in Iran being sent to fight and die for Assad in Syria", The Guardian, November 5, 2015.

Finland Reviews Afghan Asylum Claims. Finland has announced that it has suspended its decision-making process for Afghan Asylum claims due to an ongoing assessment of the security situation in the country. (Reuters, Nov 4, 2015).

German Interpreter Tells his Story. An interpreter worked for the German military in Afghanistan until the Taliban threatened his life. He managed to leave for Germany but his family had to stay behind. Read "Afghan interpreter torn between worlds", Deutsche Welle, November 5, 2015.

Deployed Troops and Beer Drinking. Times have changed and so has the Army. Women in combat units, gays allowed to serve openly, and . . . sadly . . . long tours in a combat zone with no beer. It wasn't always that way and some of the older contractors serving on bases like Bagram probably remember finer days when "Soldiers Worked Hard and Played Hard". I, for one, am disappointed in the senior leadership of today's Army in regards to the non-drinking policy. I am not the only one - Jim Webb, Vietnam Vet and one-time candidate for President, has chided the U.S. military on its non-drinking policy. Read more about the good old days in "Flat Tops: Canned Beer and Vietnam", War on the Rocks, October 30, 2015.

MREs to Get Better? The Meal Ready to Eat or MRE (sometimes called Meals Rarely Edible) has been around for over 35 years. The next generation of meals is being developed at the Natick Research Center outside of Boston, Massachusetts (presumably there are smart people in the Boston area who have superior culinary abilities). Pizza is on the way! (10 News Tampa Bay, Nov 2, 2015).

Buying More Counterfire Radars. The Army is buying more AN/TPQ-53 counterfire target acquisition radars from Lockheed Martin. (C4ISR & Networks, Oct 26, 2015).

Contractor Firms Benefit from Decision to Stay. President Obama's recent decision to keep the level of troops constant for the new year or two will certainly benefit contracting firms. (AllGov, Nov 2, 2015).

Canadian Defence Minister Afghan Vet. The new Defence Minister has Afghan war time experience and brings a cultural twist to the position. Read "New Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan proved mettle in Afghanistan", The Globe and Mail, November 5, 2015.

Family Planning. Clerics face death threats for promoting family planning in a country where one in 50 women dies of causes related to pregnancy. Read more "Condoms and conflict: imams defy Taliban to spread contraception", The Guardian, November 4, 2015.

"Cabal of Corruption at Bagram Air Base". A story of drugs, prostitutes, and illegal activities provides a side of Bagram that many never see. Learn more about the underground life at BAF. (Courthouse News Service, 3 Nov 2015).

"Black Widows" Arrive at Bagram. Airmen of the 421st Fighter Squadron (F-16s) have arrived at Bagram Airfield to support Operation Freedom's Sentinel and NATO's Resolute Support mission. Upon completion of this deployment the squadron will shift to the new J-35 jet aircraft. Ouch! (U.S. Air Force, Nov 2, 2015).

Advising - It's a Cultural Thing. A senior intelligence officer and air intelligence advisor for the 438th Expeditionary Advisory Group relates his experiences to us during his time from October 2013 to December 2014 working as a air advisor to the Afghan Air Force (AAF). Read (and listen) to Lt. Col. James Fielder in "Cultural Gaps Cause Problems in U.S.-Afghan Military Ops", Iowa Public Radio, November 3, 2015.

AAF Lacking C-130 Flight Engineers. It takes more than 18 months to train up a C-130 flight engineer. Currently the AAF has four C-130s but only one flight engineer. Looks like we put the cart (airplanes) before the horse (personnel). Read more in "Lack of trained staff means long hours for Afghan air force engineer", Reuters, November 4, 2015.

Drug War in Afghanistan. The State Department is still without a new plan to fight drug trafficking in Afghanistan. Although successfully combating opium could be a key to victory in Afghanistan the U.S. is still without a strategy.(U.S. News & World Report, Oct 27, 2015).

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Afghan Interpreters Before Syrian Refugees

The refugees of Syria have gained international attention and worldwide support yet Afghan interpreters who loyally aided American military forces during the Afghan conflict are left at risk in their own country. Why? Why doesn't our State Department do the right thing? Where are our high-ranking military leaders? I don't hear them speaking out. Read more in "Forget the Syrian refugees. American needs to bring its Afghan and Iraqi interpreters here first", by Dane Bowker, The Washington Post, September 17, 2015.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Afghan Interpreters

The United States Department of State failed miserably over the last decade in 'taking care' of its Afghan interpreters (denying visas for those wishing to relocate to the United States). In the past few years it appears that DoS is making a greater effort although sometimes it is difficult to motivate the bureaucracy. The U.S. is not the only nation with a poor track record of taking care of their Afghan interpreters. Other coalition nations have fell short as well. 

Has the UK Abandoned its Afghan Interpreters? The United Kingdom has come under attack by critics but the UK Ministry of Defence has issued a clarification saying such claims are "completely erroneous". Read more in "HMG Policy on Afghan Interpreters"Defence in the Media Blog, GOV.UK, August 21, 2015.

New Zealand and Interpreters. A recent news report states that Afghan interpreters given residency after working with Kiwi troops are calling on the Government to allow them to bring their parents and siblings to New Zealand. Read more in a news report by 3 News, August 18, 2015.

UK Afghan Interpreter Slain by Taliban. An Afghan interpreter who was denied asylum by the UK has been captured and executed while trying to flee the Taliban. Read more in "Britain's shame: Afghan hero interpreter refused asylum is slaughtered by Taliban", Daily Express, August 18, 2015.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Good News Story on an Afghan Interpreter

The Afghan interpreters that tried to get a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) over the past several years got screwed over (until 2014) by the U.S. State Department. Fortunately, for a few lucky ones anyway, some Afghan interpreters are finding their way to the United States . . . and they are being helped by a former U.S. Army Soldier and former Afghan interpreter who now lives in the United States. Read more in "Matt Zeller and Janis Shinwari Saved Each Other's Lives - and Now Help Others",, February 19, 2015.

CNN Video on Afghan Interpreters

A former U.S. Army Soldier talks to CNN about the thousands of Iraqi and Afghan linguists who helped U.S. troops and have since been forgotten. Watch a 10 minute long video on the topic.

America's Wartime Interpreters Try to Reach U.S., CNN, February 19, 2015.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Updated Info for Afghan SIV Program

The U.S. Department of State has updated their website with information about the Special Immigrant Visas for Afghans who were employed by/on behalf of the U.S. Government. The webpage can be viewed at the link below.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Promise to Afghan Interpreters

The United States has some unfinished business to attend to in regards to Afghanistan. That is the fair treatment of the many Afghan interpreters who risked their lives helping the United States military conduct their operations. Many are now unemployed after years of working with the U.S. military; some are under constant threat from the Taliban because of their long-time association with the Coalition forces. We need to do more to ensure that these Afghan interpreters acquire the necessary Special Immigrant Visa so they can come to the United States to live if that is their desire. That we owe them. Read more in "Keeping a Promise to Afghans", editorial by The New York Times, January 13, 2015.

Monday, January 12, 2015

U.S. Airman helps Afghan Interpreter in U.S.

Afghan interpreters are a key part of the Coalition's success in Afghanistan. It is difficult to conduct combat operations, civil affairs projects, training or advising because of the language barrier. However, because of a few thousand brave Afghan interpreters this task became easier. It addition to the interpretation, Afghan interpreters functioned as cultural advisors and were an important part of the Force Protection plan for Coalition members. Now that the war for the U.S. and Coalition is winding down many of the interpreters employed for years by the U.S. military are in search of employment. In addition, some are at risk of retribution by the Taliban. Some Afghan interpreters have been fortunate enough to receive a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) from the U.S. State Department. A few of these interpreters have also benefited from the assistance of an American sponsor. Read the story of one interpreter and his family who are being helped out by a U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant in "Academy Airman helps Afghan interpreter start new life in US", U.S. Air Force, January 10, 2015.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Afghan Interpreter Finds New Life in U.S.

An Afghan interpreter who spent years working for the U.S. military and who's life was threatened by the Taliban has started a new life in the United States. He is being aided by a U.S. Marine in his fresh start. Read more in "Afghan Interpreter Finds Refuge at Marine's Home",, December 26, 2014.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Commentator on "Right Thing to Do"

Captain Robert Newson, a Naval Special Warfare (SEAL) officer has penned an article about "doing the right thing" for our Afghan allies. Specifically, the Afghan interpreters who risked their lives assisting the U.S. military during combat operations. He calls for the U.S. Congress to pass comprehensive visa legislation to increase the number of authorized visas for Afghan interpreters, expanding the application window, and to fully fund its execution to include rapid processing and resettlement. He also proposes new legislation to enhance the "Military Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNI). MAVNI is a program that would benefit the former interpreters (gives them a job) and provides the U.S. military with talented personnel useful in counterinsurgency environments (insurgencies are NOT going away). Read more in "In the Last Days of Afghanistan, To Many Shadows of Vietnam"Defense in Depth Blog, Council on Foreign Relations, December 17, 2014.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Afghan Interpreters - "No One Left Behind"

An organization calling itself "No One Left Behind" has been established to assist Iraqi and Afghan interpreters. The mission of the organization is to assist Iraqi and Afghan combat interpreters who have received Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) with resettlement in the United States. The charity focuses solely on Afghan and Iraqi SIVs recipients who served honorably alongside US forces in combat. The goal of the charity is to provide targeted, short term housing and cultural adaptation aid and to quickly transition them to self-sufficiency through various employment programs. Learn more about "No One Left Behind" here -

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Two Interpreters Finally Make it to U.S.

Afghan interpreters, who risked their lives to assist the U.S. military, are finding it difficult to get to the United States on a visa. Two interpreters finally did complete their journey but it was not easy. The two interpreters, with their families, have re-located to Alexandria, Virginia. But getting to the United States was a four-year-long ordeal. Read more in "Two Afghan interpreters, targeted for helping the US military, finally make it to America", Public Radio International, November 29, 2014.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Call for Extension of Visa Program for Interpreters

For the last several years the blame for the poor implementation of the Special Immigrant Visa Program for Afghan interpreters can easily be placed on the Department of State. Up until mid-2014 the State Department was doing everything it could to NOT provide visas to Afghan interpreters who wished to immigrate to the United States. Finally State saw the light after getting hammered by members of Congress and the media. Now it is Congress that is under the spotlight. The visa program needs to be extended so that up to 9,000 more Afghans can get visas. The program sunsets at the end of the year. There are two bills before Congress - one in the house and one in the Senate. The Senate bill is more generous. Read more in "Extend the special visa program for Afghan interpreters", The Washington Post, November 17, 2014.

"Afghan Interpreters Deserve Visas"

Congress will be making an important decision in the next month or so about Afghan interpreters. The interpreters served as the eyes and ears of the U.S. military in Afghanistan for years. Many wish to emigrate to the United States; some are in fear for their lives due to Taliban reprisals. The United States should keep faith with these loyal comrades and provide them visas. It is up to Congress to authorize these visas. Read more in "Afghan interpreters deserve visas", Columbia Daily Tribune, November 18, 2014.