Translation Guy Blog
‘Terps, the linguists employed by the US in Afghanistan, are at the top of the Taliban kill list. Taliban warlords want them dead, since interpreters were essential to the US mission in that country.
And now it seems that the US State Department has become a favorite resource for terrorists who want to keep afghan interpreters who used to work for the Americans in place. All it takes is an anonymous phone call to the US State Department to put a stop on an interpreter’s special visa application, leaving the interpreter in place until he can be hunted down and killed.
Taliban telephone tactics may be one of the reasons for the massive and unaccountable delay in issuing visas to Afghan allies of the US. Maybe that’s why it seems the only way to get a visa stamp from the Kabul consulate is with a Change.org petition of 50,000+.
Taliban gamers can play this “do not pass go” at will. Thanks to security requirements that assume that all US-employed translators are terrorists, background checks are required before admission. All it takes is a single phone call from an anonymous stranger to put an interpreter under suspicion and make his visa paperwork disappear into the bureaucratic limbo of of the security regime that now dominates the United States government.
By the way, these suspected traitorous translators are the same guys that fought shoulder to shoulder with the American comrades in arms, risking everything in service to the American cause. But they remain suspect.
So we’ve got this new poster up at headquarters here at the Red T, an organization striving to safeguard linguists in conflict zones.
We no longer mention the names of interpreters and linguists who have applied for US visas. Afghan linguists seeking a passport stamp under the US special visa program for Afghan allies have been waiting for years and years. It’s our belief that identifying Afghan linguists on the Internet puts him squarely in the middle of Taliban crosshairs courtesy of the US State Department.
Check out our Facebook page for the latest on efforts to help our linguist brothers and sisters who put themselves in harm’s way to make the world a smaller place.
And please be careful. We are urging everybody to not publish the names of special visa applicants, since big trouble is only a call away.