NewsLocal News


Former Afghan interpreter fears for family amid troop withdrawal

Afghanistan US Withdrawal
Posted at 3:37 PM, Jul 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-14 19:49:38-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — August 31. That's the date the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan is set to formally end.

It's a day many dread.

"The feeling is like carrying a coffin on your shoulders always, you don't know. It's a nightmare, it doesn't leave you alone," said Rahmat Mokhtar.

Mokhtar worked as an interpreter for U.S. troops for 4 years in Afghanistan. He was able to come to America on a Special Immigrant Visa in 2016 and now lives in San Diego, but was forced to leave behind his family.

"I have nine other siblings and my parents are out there," said Mokhtar.

Now, as withdrawal looms and the Taliban gains ground, Mokhtar worries about not only his loved ones but all the others like him.

"There have been a lot of interpreters who have lost their lives and been assassinated by the extremist groups," Mokhtar said.

The White House said Wednesday it would begin Operation Allies Refuge later this month to evacuate applicants for Special Immigrant Visas, but it's unclear exactly how many people could get out under the plan.

In the meantime, Mokhtar says all he can do is speak out.

"Just speak out and share my concern and fear with everybody here in the U.S., the situation is not that easy, it's so complicated."