Wahdat worked as an interpreter for the US military in Afghanistan from 2010 to 2014, beginning the job when he was 17. Now unemployed, he lives in hiding in Kabul, fearful of the Taliban, who have threatened his life multiple times because he worked with American forces.
He applied for a special visa for Afghan citizens who had worked with the US government during its occupation of the country. According to law, Wahdat’s application should have been processed within nine months, but nearly three years later, he’s still waiting to find out his fate.
Fault Lines visited Wahdat in a room he rents at an undisclosed location in Afghanistan. This is his story in his own words.
Working as a translator for the Americans was the right thing to do. I’m the only breadwinner for my family. The pay was not that good, but still I was running a family.
I’ve witnessed the Taliban killing people. Over time, something grew inside me – hate. I hate them.
I’m not sorry that I worked with the American forces. But I’m sorry for what the US government is doing to me.
The Taliban sent a letter by a seven-year-old, telling me that I should stop working [for the US military]. It’s in Pashtu and says: “We know you have been working with the US special forces, and you must stop working and helping these infidels. You must know we have spared and have forgiven those ones who did surrender and obeyed us. So like others, you must also obey and surrender yourself to us. But if you reject and do not obey our directions and rules, your death will be eligible to us according to Islamic Sharia, and we will never let you live in peace in any part of Afghanistan.”
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