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Afghan interpreter escaped to US with help from Louisiana friend, USA News reports

An Afghan interpreter and an ex-military aide who worked together in Afghanistan have reunited after the Afghan’s escape this summer.  

USA News reported the story dubbing the Afghan “Adam” and the American “Sam” to conceal their identities. The two had stayed in touch since they last worked together. Sam’s support helped get Adam out of an unsafe situation in his home country to safety in the United States.

Sam received an unusual call from Adam last summer. Usually their calls were centered around their families and life updates. This one was different. The Taliban was marching into Kabul and Adam, having served the U.S. as an interpreter and as a diplomat for the Afghan government to the US embassy, was at risk. Things continued getting worse until Adam felt hopeless. Sam urged him to go to the airport in Kabul to try to escape the country. Meanwhile, Sam frantically wrote letters to Congresspeople and the president.

On August 25, around 10PM, Adam arrived at the airport. It would be 15 hours before he could get on a plane. Sam stayed on the phone with Adam during that time, encouraging him that things would be okay. “It was very dangerous and terrible,” he said. “He was telling me I’m going to make it.” Once his plane took off, he was taken to Kuwait, and then Spain before making it to the U.S. He was taken to Fort Bliss in New Mexico, where he stayed for 40 days. Finally, he made it to Louisiana, where Sam lives.

Sam became Adam’s sponsor, so that he could receive a Special Immigrant Visa, which Congress made specifically for Afghans who were once interpreters and are now refugees. 

Sam’s letter campaign was widely ignored. However, the one he sent to Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana, turned out to be groundbreaking. Johnson and his employee sent word to diplomats and military members. When Adam was at the airport, he waved his documents around and shouted, “Mike Johnson”. A U.S. soldier stopped, looked at his papers, and let him pass. “Fortunately, I could get inside the airport,” Adam recalled. “It was a very happy moment.” Just hours after he departed the country, the bombing which killed 13 US soldiers and at least 60 Afghans went off. He had just made it.

ARTICLE: RITA VOGT

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: THE ADVOCATE

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