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Veterans work to get former interpreter’s family out of Afghanistan

Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 4:09 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - A group of veterans is still working to move U.S. allies out of Afgainistan. We have an update on their mission and meet a former Afghan interpreter who worked for the U.S.

“One of the families we got out is in Australia at the time. Another family is in Pakistan,” said Gonzalo Lassally, U.S. Army veteran.

He’s also one of the founders of Tarjoman.org, a group of veterans aiming to get U.S. allies out of Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

Lassally, who deployed to Afghanistan while serving at Fort Drum, estimates they’ve gotten more than 50 people out so far through connections they have.

“Safe houses, cross the border, send them resources for food. We’ve been doing telehealth appointments with American doctors,” said Lassally.

The main goal is to help Afghan interpreters, who put their lives on the line for the U.S. Army. Rahmanullah Zazai is one of them. He worked with one of Tarjoman’s directors for five years and says the mission was dangerous.

“When the interpreter was caught by Taliban, they were behead them – you know they would kill them,” said Zazai.

Zazai came to America in 2011 with his wife and son. He now owns a trucking company in Dallas. But a younger brother and cousins are still in Afghanistan. All worked for the U.S.

“It’s really hard. If you see the condition, the situation is very bad. But, they’re still hiding,” said Zazai.

He says the Taliban is actively hunting anybody who helped the U.S., making it urgent to get people out. Zazai hopes the United States will step in.

“We support the government. Now, this is the time. They have to support, you know, the interpreter family,” said Zazai.

Lassally says their operation is growing. They’ve merged with similar organizations to help as many allies as possible, calling it a moral obligation.

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