Taliban Beheaded Afghan Interpreter Who Was Working With US Troops, Report Claims
21:44 GMT 24.07.2021 (Updated: 22:33 GMT 24.07.2021)
© REUTERS / STRINGERPeople on vehicles, holding Taliban flags, gather near the Friendship Gate crossing point in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border town of Chaman, Pakistan July 14, 2021
© REUTERS / STRINGER
The purportedly slain man had been a US military interpreter for 16 months and had sought asylum in the US for security reasons. He was denied a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) because he had been fired in 2012 after failing a standard polygraph test. He never received an explanation for why he failed the polygraph.
After being attacked outside Kabul, the former US military local translator, Sohail Pardis, was reportedly decapitated by Taliban* militants, and his brutal killing has triggered new fears among translators, who fear attacks as Western coalition soldiers withdraw from Afghanistan, CNN reported on Saturday.
Citing the family members of the deceased, the news outlet stated that he was shot at and dragged from his vehicle while attempting to flee a Taliban roadblock on a road in Khost. Witnesses to the tragedy reportedly told the Red Crescent that the Taliban fighters shot his car before it veered and stopped.
Pardis was pulled from his automobile and beaten, shot, then beheaded.
According to the report, 30-year-old Pardis had told his friend just days before that he was receiving death threats from the Taliban after they found out he'd helped the US Army during their campaign in the country.
"They were telling him you are a spy for the Americans, you are the eyes of the Americans and you are infidel, and we will kill you and your family," his friend and co-worker is quoted in the report as saying.
The lie detector screenings which Pardis reportedly failed were carried out by a third-party firm. According to media reports, hundreds of translators who failed the tests said they could not understand the questions and claimed them to be not reliable. Thus, their contracts were allegedly terminated for "unjust cause", while the US administration has also stated that the cases will not be reviewed.
© REUTERS / Danish SiddiquiAn Afghan boy works at a construction site as a U.S. Army soldier of 3/1 AD Task Force Bulldog takes position during a joint patrol with Afghan National Army (ANA) in a village in Kherwar district in Logar province, eastern Afghanistan, May 23, 2012.
An Afghan boy works at a construction site as a U.S. Army soldier of 3/1 AD Task Force Bulldog takes position during a joint patrol with Afghan National Army (ANA) in a village in Kherwar district in Logar province, eastern Afghanistan, May 23, 2012.
© REUTERS / Danish Siddiqui
In June, The Taliban said in a statement that it would not punish people who'd collaborated with Western forces. CNN cited a spokesperson for the Taliban as saying it was attempting to verify the incident's specifics, but that some instances are not what they appear to be.
In total, around 18,000 Afghans who served for the US military have applied for an SIV, allowing them to enter the country. At least seven former Coalition translators have been killed this year, according to reports, bringing the total number of ex-Coalition translators killed to more than 350 since 2014.
Earlier this month, the US administration stated that it would initiate "Operation Allies Refuge," an endeavor to relocate thousands of Afghan interpreters and translators who'd worked with the US and whose lives are now in danger. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki added that the evacuation will begin in the last week of July for SIV applicants already in the process.
The Biden administration previously stated that it was holding negotiations with a number of countries to function as safe havens until the US can complete the lengthy visa process, indicating that the government is well aware of the Taliban's looming danger for the former US collaborators.
© REUTERS / STRINGERFormer Afghan interpreters, who worked with U.S. troops in Afghanistan demonstrate in front of the U.S. embassy in Kabul June 25, 2021
Former Afghan interpreters, who worked with U.S. troops in Afghanistan demonstrate in front of the U.S. embassy in Kabul June 25, 2021
© REUTERS / STRINGER
On Wednesday, Defense Department spokesman John Kirby said that the Pentagon is "considering options" for relocating Afghan nationals and their families.
However, as time runs out for the complete withdrawal of the US troops and the Afghans who were helping them, the fate of people such as Pardis' orphaned 9-year-old daughter remain uncertain, numerous reports on the situation within the war-torn nation claim.
In addition to this particular tragic incident, many Afghans, apparently not without reason, fear for their lives in the light of possible retaliation from the gaining strength of the Taliban, but it seems all that remains for them is to hope for the American bureaucratic machine to be able to process their requests and save them.
On Thursday, the US House almost unanimously agreed to streamline the visa process for thousands of Afghan translators, making it easier for many to flee as Taliban insurgents gain ground at an alarming rate.
*Taliban, a terrorist group banned in Russia and a number of other countries