Kabul — As the Talibanwith the U.S. winding down its longest war Afghanistan, time is running out for thousands of Afghans who helped the U.S.
Sherin Agha Jafari is amongwho top the list of Taliban revenge attacks once U.S. forces leave. He was on his first day as an interpreter with a U.S. combat platoon when a roadside bomb struck his vehicle.
“It was my first experience, and it was the worst experience,” he said.
Much worse was yet to come. He and his father, Abdul, had gone to sell their family home when Taliban militants came knocking one night.
“We just saw people climbing the walls. People with long beards, guns in their hands. They came inside. They kept questioning. ‘We know who you are,'” Jafari said.
He said they had no choice but to try to flee.
“When we were running away one of them shot at us and they killed my father,” he said.
The U.S. State Department is working on mass evacuation plans to get the interpreters and their families to a third country while their visas are processed. It’s a mammoth task that includes the airlift of between 60,000 to 70,000 people.
White House press secretary Jen Psakithe Afghans would be “relocated to a location outside of Afghanistan before we complete our military drawdown, by September, in order to complete the visa application process.”
President Biden has also promised that the Afghans who risked their lives to help the U.S. “are not going to be left behind.”
But the situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating. The Taliban retook the northern region overnight, sending more than 1,000 Afghan soldiers fleeing into neighboring Tajikistan.
Jafari knows there’s no guarantee that speaking up will help save his life. “We are right now at the final stage. They are going to slaughter us anyway,” he said.