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Opinion 'They already looking for me': An Afghan interpreter on the last 24 hours

09:35  19 september  2021
09:35  19 september  2021 Source:   usatoday.com

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On Monday, I feared the worst.

a green truck parked in front of a car: A truck drives by outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 16, 2021. © Omid Mahmoodi, handout for USA TODAY A truck drives by outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 16, 2021.

I had messaged Omid Mahmoodi, who worked as an interpreter and cultural adviser for the U.S. military for three years during the war.

We had been keeping in touch on-and-off since I first spoke with him in May about his effort to secure a U.S. visa through a special program for Afghans who served alongside American troops during the war.

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At that time, he said he feared the Taliban would "slaughter" him and others associated with the American-led war.

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Mahmoodi usually responded quickly. I kept checking back for the double check marks next to my message, to see if he had at least read it.

Nothing for three hours.

Then suddenly, my phone pinged.

"Hello, hope you're fine," he wrote. "I went to Kabul airport."

He sent videos of a throng of people heading to the airport gate. Inside, American troops were scrambling to secure the compound to evacuate American citizens and Afghan allies.


Video: U.S.-bound airlift begins for Afghan interpreters (Reuters)

"Okay are you inside?" I responded. "If so, you will have a chance of leaving."

Another video of people trying to scale the wall after the Taliban blocked the entrance.

And then a photo of two listless bodies in the street.

"People got killed by the Taliban," he wrote. "Shot."

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"But you're inside right? So you may get out tomorrow or the next day."

"No," he responded. He said the Taliban made those who had gotten into the compound leave. He had been let in by a U.S. Marine, he said.

"There is a lot of people with their family and kids. Taliban beating them," he said.

"So where are you? Outside?" I write.

"I am back to my location," he wrote. He said I should publish the videos and was free to use his name – again.

"You're not put me in trouble. They already seen all my interview," he said. "I am not scared. They already looking for me."

I don't know what to say in response. "I'm sorry" doesn't really cut it right now, and I'd already said that to him on Sunday. To which he responded: "It's ok."

But it's not.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'They already looking for me': An Afghan interpreter on the last 24 hours

After two decades and billions spent, Afghan government collapses as Taliban takes Kabul .
The Taliban, which for hours had been in the outskirts of Kabul, announced soon after they would move farther into a city gripped by panic.Embattled President Ashraf Ghani fled the country as the Taliban entered the capital city of Kabul, and American troops scrambled to evacuate thousands of U.S. diplomats and Afghans from the U.S. Embassy.

usr: 3
This is interesting!