Common Sense for the 21st Century

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Wounded Interpreter Abandoned in Afghanistan After Loyal Service to United States of America

Afghanistan CGI

Two years after the Fall of Kabul, administration of the American withdrawal from Afghanistan remains just as incompetent as ever — prioritizing entry into the United States for thousands of unvetted Afghans while leaving those who dutifully served with our military behind to fear for their lives and suffer under the rule of the Taliban.

Mohammed* was a once-promising applicant for a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) who dreamed of a new life in the United States when he volunteered to assist our government. His dreams were shattered when his application was denied. 

As a result of what can only be described as bureaucratic nonsense, it was determined Mohammed didn’t meet a 24-month employment requirement — seemingly ignorant of the fact that he’d lost his job after sustaining severe injuries in the line of duty. 

It was July 25, 2012, when tragedy struck Mohammed as he accompanied the 2nd Infantry Division of the U.S. Army during a night-time combat patrol west of Kandahar. While returning to the Forward Operating Base, an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) exploded amid the convoy and sent shrapnel ripping through Alpha Company. First Lt. Sean Robert Jacobs and Sergeant John E. Hansen succumbed to their injuries the following day, and the blast left Mohammed with an injury riddled body. One of his injuries led to the loss of his right eye. Due to his extensive wounds, Mohammed was rendered unable to work. His employment as an interpreter in support of the U.S. Military was unceremoniously terminated. 

Screenshot from Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) report describing Mohammed’s injuries.

Despite his sacrifice and extensive documentation of his injuries, Mohammed’s initial application for SIV was denied in 2018. A Chief of Mission letter explained that to qualify for an SIV, he needed to have been employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government or International Security Assistance Force for at least two years.

Screenshot of COM SIV denial letter

Undeterred, Mohammed reapplied under new SIV guidelines, which reduced the work requirement to one year. Unfortunately, it remains almost certain that his new application will also be denied. He was just seven months into the job when the explosion of shrapnel shattered his body, along with his dreams. 

If not for the IED attack that left him severely injured, there’s no doubt Mohammed would have been able to continue working as an interpreter and meet the SIV length of employment requirement. According to those members of the U.S. Military who know him best and worked closely beside him, his dedication and loyalty to the United States are unquestionable. Many have written letters of recommendation and look forward to the day he can come to America. 

The unique circumstances of Mohammed’s story cannot be casually dismissed. He was extensively vetted through background checks and counter-intelligence polygraphs to ensure his dedication to the American cause. Throughout his seven months of employment and continued correspondence as a Human Intelligence asset in a hostile environment, Mohammed remains faithful to his brothers and sisters in the U.S. military. 

Screenshot from SBU report, detailing the vetting process undergone by Mohammed

In an unconscionable twist of fate, the injuries Mohammed sustained in combat while supporting the U.S. government have become the primary barrier to any realization of his dream to escape the brutal tyranny of the Taliban and discover a better life in America.

Mohammed gave everything short of his life for a chance at freedom. More than a decade after he bled for the United States on the battlefield, it remains to be seen if our government can summon the will to honor his sacrifice and the wishes of those American Patriots who served with him. 

*The subject’s name has been withheld and replaced due to security concerns.

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