News of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has shaken the world. As thousands of Afghans flee the capital city of Kabul, thousands of others remain in danger. Those who supported the U.S. military and NATO troops—including interpreters—are at an even higher risk of being arrested or killed.
On behalf of the Boostlingo team, we’d like to extend our support to Afghan interpreters, their families, and other refugees who are risking their lives. As part of our commitment to the interpreting community, we’ve compiled information on how interpreters can apply for a U.S. visa and how our readers can help them.
Special Immigrant Visas for Afghan Interpreters
Since 2008, roughly 70,000 Afghan interpreters and their families have arrived in the U.S. on a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV). However, the over 20,000 interpreters who remain in the country are targets for the Taliban. Interpreters who have attempted to flee in recent weeks have been shot or beheaded due to their support for the U.S. and NATO troops. And those who have applied for an SIV face a long, difficult journey ahead.
The SIV program, which has helped tens of thousands, includes a complex 14-step application process. It’s also severely backlogged—with an estimated three-and-a-half-year waiting period before approval. This leaves interpreters and other applicants in a dangerous stage of limbo.
How You Can Help
While the situation may feel hopeless, there are steps you can take to help. Below is a list of resources to assist Afghan interpreters, their families, and other refugees.
No One Left Behind seeks to revamp the State Department’s SIV application process and ease the transition for refugees who resettle in the U.S. Right now, they’re helping Afghans in the process of applying for an SIV, if they have a case number. They accept donations, and $0.76 of every dollar goes to SIV families.
Keep Our Promise offers resettlement assistance to “endangered wartime allies who served U.S. interests in conflict and war zones.” They also provide information on how Afghans living in the U.S. can file for “Humanitarian Parole” for family members who are still in Afghanistan. They accept donations from individuals and groups.
Evacuate Our Allies is a coalition of nonprofits that are working together to evacuate and resettle Afghan allies who are in the SIV process and other vulnerable Afghans. They are having issues housing Afghan refugees who have made it to the U.S. If you’d like to volunteer in any way, including housing a family, fill out this form or send an email to [email protected].
U.S. Representatives and Resources
Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) has created a form where you can request information on a refugee or provide information on how best to assist them.
Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.) also has a form you can fill out to help the State Department connect with individuals on the ground who require assistance.
U.S. Department of the State
If you know Afghans who need to be evacuated, email [email protected] Include a copy of the passport page with a photo and any other forms of identification, a brief explanation of why they’re at risk, your email, and the emails and mobile phone numbers for the Afghans in Kabul who need to get out.
Whether it’s donating money, contacting your representative, volunteering, or simply sharing this information with your network, we encourage you to help however you can!
This picture taken on August 14, 2021 shows a Qatar Airways aircraft taking-off from the airport in Kabul. (Photo by Wakil KOHSAR / AFP) (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images)
If you know Afghans who need to be evacuated, send an email to [email protected] that includes a copy of the passport page with photo image of the Afghans along with any other forms of identification; such as a Taskera (Afghan identity card); a brief explanation of why these people are at risk; and your email along with the emails and mobile phone numbers for the Afghans in Kabul who need to get out.
The situation is incredibly fluid right now, and because of that, we encourage you to include any other legitimate, proven organizations in the comments which may be of help. We will keep this article updated with information as the humanitarian crisis unfolds.