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Fort Drum veteran has a goal: Get U.S. allies out of Afghanistan

Published: Aug. 29, 2021 at 5:52 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Gonzalo Lassally served two tours fighting in Afghanistan with the 10th Mountain Divison; a total of 28 months. Now retired from the military, Lassally has one more mission: help the Afghan interpreters that helped him and so many other U.S. soldiers.

“Our ultimate goal is to get them to a safe country,” said Lassally.

Safety is the key. Lassally says Afghan interpreters, whose faces have been blurred for their own protection, risked their lives over the years working with the U.S. army and against the Taliban.

“A lot of these interpreters show me their Taliban death letters. They are actively being hunted,” said Lassally.

Lassally sent us a video of an Afghan interpreter with his family begging for somebody to help them.

“We cannot go outside from home. We cannot stay for three days or four days in one house. We are changing house. We are so scared the Taliban will kill us. The Taliban’s looking door by door, hunting Afghan interpreters,” they said in the video.

That’s where Lassally steps in. He and a few other veterans launched a website called Tarjoman.org. Tarjoman is the word that Afghan interpreters use to identify themselves.

Freddy Gurwell is part of the team. He says they relay accurate information to interpreters like airport updates and potential safe routes out of the country.

“American people probably don’t realize that Afghanistan is not the land of Wi-Fi and corner coffee shops. They have very limited connectivity to the outside world,” said Gurwell.

Lassally says they’re trying to help more than 100 people and their families. He says they just recently got a family of 13 out of the country, and they’ve also reached out to federal officials for help. It’s all in an effort to help those who helped the United States.

“These people put their lives in danger. They put their family’s lives in danger. And we can’t let them feel like that we’re leaving them behind,” said Lassally.

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