The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has sent the country spiraling into a humanitarian crisis. Although at least 12,000 Afghans have been evacuated via the Kabul airport, tens of thousands of others remain in danger. Those who supported the United States and NATO troops—including interpreters—are at the highest risk of being arrested or killed.

 

As part of our commitment to the interpreting community, we’ve compiled information on how interpreters can apply for refugee status in Canada and how our readers can help them. For resources on U.S. visa programs and nonprofits, click here.

 

Special Programs for Afghan Interpreters and Other Refugees

 

The Canadian government has agreed to resettle up to 20,000 refugees through Special Programs. These include a special program for:

 

  • Afghan nationals and their families who assisted the Canadian government.
  • Afghan nationals who don’t have a durable solution in a third country, including
    • Women leaders
    • Human rights activists
    • LGBTI individuals
    • Journalists and people who assisted Canadian journalists
    • Immediate family members of one of the above
    • Extended family members of previously resettled interpreters who assisted the Canadian government.

 

To apply, write an email to [email protected] and include:

 

  • Your full name
  • Date of birth
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Description of work with the Canadian government including:
    • Your title or position
    • Identification number, if you have one
    • Name(s) of current Canadian point(s) of contact, if possible
  • Copy of your passport and passport for each eligible family member traveling with you, if possible

 

Please note: You don’t need to be in Afghanistan or return to Afghanistan to be eligible.

 

How You Can Help

 

If you’d like to help Afghans who are awaiting refugee status or have already arrived in Canada, here are three organizations that are accepting donations and need volunteers.

Veteran Transition Network is a veteran-led nonprofit organization that has set up an emergency fund to provide shelter and support for interpreters and their families. Donations go toward immediately helping Afghans by paying for interim housing and a living wage for those awaiting permission to enter Canada.

 

You can donate online, via check, or write transfer or security. If you’d like to volunteer, click here.

 

Afghan-Canadian Interpreters is an initiative made up of civilian volunteers, veterans, and serving members of the Canadian armed forces. It provides interpreters and their families with the expenses required for the relocation process.

 

You can send donations via e-transfer to [email protected] or via check. If you’d like to volunteer, email [email protected].

 

Islamic Relief Canada provides emergency aid in disaster zones which includes food packages and hygiene and water storage kits. The organization has been on the ground in Afghanistan for twenty years and is asking for donations to assist those who have been displaced.

 

You can donate online here. If you’d like to volunteer, click here.

 

Whether it’s donating money, volunteering, or simply sharing with your network, we encourage you to help however you can!

 

Since the situation remains incredibly fluid, we encourage you to include any other legitimate, proven organization in the comments which may be of help. We will keep this article updated with information as the humanitarian crisis unfolds.

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.

Nonprofits

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.