An Afghan interpreter who served alongside American troops for 13 years has finally been allowed to come to the United States after five years of pleading with the State Department.
Fraidoon Akhtari risked his life to translate for U.S. troops during 500 combat missions in Afghanistan. Last week, 25 members of the Pennsylvania National Guard greeted Akhtari at Dulles International Airport last week and recounted how he saved their lives, Fox News reports.
Akhtari worked alongside a former FBI agent and helped him to target Taliban leaders. While he awaited a visa, Akhtari said he and other translators often faced threats in Afghanistan from the Taliban for their service to the United States.
“They shoved my car two times with an RPG, they shot me many times, but did not kill me,” he said of the threats he faced from the Taliban for his service to American troops. “But they could not kill me, because I had good friends here with me here and in Afghanistan. They protected me, and I’m here today.”
No One Left Behind, a private nonprofit organization, enables American vets to help guide U.S. translators who’ve been stranded abroad through the Special Immigrant Visa application process. Once they’ve arrived safely, the organization helps translators and their families to assimilate by providing them temporary housing, transportation, and food, and assists them to find employment.
No One Left Behind estimates there are more than 35,000 individuals who’ve aided American troops during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and their families live in constant danger abroad for their service to U.S. troops.