Taliban still murdering interpreters and other U.S. allies

By J.M. Phelps

A Marine calms an infant during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 21, 2021. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Samuel Ruiz)
A Marine calms an infant during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 21, 2021.

After the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan in 2021, tens of thousands of Afghan interpreters and others were left behind to face the Taliban. As instances of capture and torture continue to rise, so does their death toll.

Earlier this month, Amu TV reported that a former employee of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Ahmad Farid Irfani, died at the hands of the Taliban. According to the report, “Family members, who wished to remain anonymous, reported that Irfani had told them he was beaten and forcibly taken away by the Taliban, who then tortured him through the night.”

“[Irfani’s] body bore marks from rifle butts and gun barrels. He was severely tortured. He died on the way to Ibn Sina Hospital,” one family member told Amu. Photographs confirmed injuries to his forehead, eyes, face and shoulders. At the time of his arrest, Irfani was carrying documents to obtain a Special Immigrant Visa, or SIV.

Using a pseudonym to protect his identity, WND spoke to former interpreter Ahmad Ehsan, who is still in Afghanistan, having attempted unsuccessfully – twice so far – to gain approval for a Special Immigrant Visa.

Evacuees from Afghanistan board a Boeing 777 bound for the United States from Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy, Aug. 28, 2021. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kaila V. Peters)
Evacuees from Afghanistan board a Boeing 777 bound for the United States from Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy, Aug. 28, 2021.

Although he served as an interpreter and cultural adviser in Kabul for the U.S. military until January 2021, Ehsan has been denied SIV status on two occasions. Despite having the support of his command and many others, a failed polygraph, marred by “extenuating circumstances,” is the reason he remains in hiding from the Taliban.

Because of the Biden administration’s failure to “properly withdraw” from Afghanistan, Ehsan told WND, thousands of people like he and Irfani, who once supported the mission of the United States, were left behind to face the wrath of the Taliban.

“Thousands were eligible for evacuation, but instead, those that were evacuated included street boys, shopkeepers, and even Taliban fighters,” he explained.

With each capture, torture and death of a U.S. ally, Ehsan fears he will be “the next person to die.” He pointed out that the Taliban are lying about their declaration of general amnesty for former military personnel and government employees of the previous government, which worked alongside the U.S. for 20 years in support of a quasi-democratic system.

Ehsan said members of the Taliban’s General Directorate of Intelligence, or GDI, are “working day and night” to collect information about anyone who worked alongside or supported the U.S. mission over the past 20 years.

Taliban

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan has documented 38 cases of detention, 10 cases of torture and abuse, and a handful of deaths at the hands of the Taliban in the first quarter of 2024.

According to Ehsan, most organizations estimate that approximately 300 to 350 Afghan interpreters and others have been killed by the Taliban in the past three years.

“Because I’ve been on the ground in Afghanistan since the U.S. withdrawal,” he argued, “I know the number is more than a thousand who have been arrested, tortured and killed.” Sadly, he added, “the number is growing more day by day.”

Ehsan told WND, “The Taliban is working very tactically and systemically to try to hide their crimes every day.” Interestingly, he added, rumors are circulating that the Taliban are injecting Afghan people, including former interpreters or security forces, with an unknown substance, causing them to die days or weeks later.

In addition, he said many of the crimes committed against the people of Afghanistan are no longer photographed or filmed. Despite the existence of publicly available images from the past three years of the atrocities committed against U.S. allies in Afghanistan, he said, “they think the international community will forget about it and make them recognizable as a legitimate government.”

“But the Taliban doesn’t have any sympathy for their people or their country,” he told WND. “They have an extremist ideology and it’s very hard for Afghan people to tolerate the terrorist groups in Afghanistan.”

Living in fear since the Taliban has taken control of the government, Ehsan knows time is running out. He revealed that he has family inside the United States, but they have been unsuccessful at helping him obtain a Special Immigrant Visa. WND verified with one family member that pleas to a congressman for help have been ignored.

See previous story: “WATCH: ‘We were left behind to be killed by the Taliban’: Afghan interpreter for U.S. provides new details of ‘shameful’ withdrawal nightmare.”

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