Afghan refugee describes emotional journey to the US following fleeing Kabul: ‘I still left some of my loved ones back again there’

As an interpreter for US forces in Afghanistan, Selanee labored alongside Rodriguez when he was deployed to Kunar Province, aiding a great number of US troopers function with locals and navigate a hazardous area. In undertaking so, becoming a primary target of the Taliban as they took handle Afghanistan.

“They presently commenced heading into the soldiers’ residences and hunting for them, you know? And inquiring their people to deliver your son. Give us weapons, give us this, give us that,” Selanee claimed of the Taliban.

“Truthfully, our troopers all they were being performing was serving their region, earning some cash to feed their loved ones.”

Even though the Taliban mentioned they would not damage those people who worked with overseas forces, revenge attacks have been described just one interpreter was dragged out of his car and beheaded by Taliban militants in May, according to witnesses. And while the Biden administration pledged to guide Afghans who labored for, and on behalf of, the US government and navy, Selanee’s frantic journey to the US highlights the perils that Specific Immigrant Visa applicants are going through as they depart Afghanistan.

Selanee experienced to start with began decoding as a teen, performing with US forces from 2007-2013, Rodriguez mentioned. He then went on to develop into a commando in an elite Afghan unit and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel.

As the Taliban swept across Afghanistan this thirty day period, getting metropolis right after metropolis, Selanee was combating along with his guys as a commander in Kandahar just before retreating with his forces and creating their way to Kabul airport, in which they helped US forces secure the perimeter.

At the airport, he was reunited with his family members, which include his spouse, a youthful brother and five youngsters. They bought on an evacuation flight to Qatar, with the intention of then going on to Germany prior to heading to the US.

“I you should not know the place they’re using us up coming. To be sincere, sir, we have no concept what’s happening upcoming day, you know?” he advised CNN from the hangar in Qatar that his family was sharing with scores of other evacuees.

Fairly than traveling to Germany, the Selanee spouse and children was place on a flight to Washington. To notify Rodriguez where by they have been going, a flight attendant wrote it down on a serviette for him: “Washington DC United states, Airport: IAD.”

Rodriguez immediately purchased a ticket and flew from Seattle, hoping to monitor Selanee’s development with messages they have been investing on WhatsApp. Selanee advised Rodriguez they were being becoming held up, that his wife and son experienced been taken to a medical center in Loudoun County, Virginia.

20-four several hours right after Selanee arrived, Rodriguez got term the family experienced been moved to a temporary housing facility near Dulles airport.

“This guy is specific for a quantity of motives. Glance all these folks have been by way of hell and back again. But this guy is special due to the fact he is he is fiercely faithful to Americans,” Rodriguez mentioned. “And then he, and then he went on to, you know, command, probably the most elite special operations device in all of Afghanistan “

Rodriguez acquired Selanee — who is now getting processed in Fort Lee, Virginia — new outfits and a telephone as he begins his life in the region he assisted in Afghanistan for many years.

But hanging above his new the life in the US are his fears for loved ones customers that failed to make it out.

Nearly all nations involved in evacuation initiatives — Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Spain, Italy and additional — have finished their operations and pulled out from the country. The last US army planes remaining Kabul on Monday, marking the complete withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan.

“I am pleased for the reason that I am harmless in this article with my household,” Selanee reported. “But I’m however not happy simply because I still left some of my loved ones again there.”