KABUL: Sohail Pardis, an Afghan interpreter who worked for the US Army was beheaded by the Taliban.
Pardis was one of the thousands of Afghan interpreters who worked for the US military and now face persecution by the Taliban, as the group gains control of parts of the country, reported CNN.
He was driving from his home in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul to nearby Khost province on May 12 for Eid when his vehicle was blocked at a checkpoint by the Taliban.
Villagers who witnessed the incident told the Red Crescent that the Taliban shot his car before it swerved and stopped. They then dragged Pardis out of the vehicle and beheaded him.
Just days before, Pardis had confided to his friend that he was receiving death threats from the Taliban, who had discovered he had worked as a translator for the United States Army for 16 months during the 20-year-long conflict.
“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 Abdulhaq Ayoubi told CNN.
In a statement issued in June, the Taliban said it would not harm those who worked alongside foreign forces. A Taliban spokesperson told CNN that they were attempting to verify the details of the incident but said some incidents are not what they are portrayed to be.
But those who spoke to CNN said their lives are now under threat as the Taliban launch revenge attacks following the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. At the height of the war, there were about 100,000 US troops in the country, as part of a Nato force, reported CNN.
“We can’t breathe here. The Taliban have no mercy on us,” Ayoubi said.
Around 18,000 Afghans who worked for the US military have applied for a Special Immigrant Visa program that would allow them to go to the United States.
On July 14, the White House said it was launching, “Operation Allies Refuge,” an effort to relocate the thousands of Afghan interpreters and translators who worked for the US and whose lives are now at risk. The evacuation will begin in the last week of July for Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants already in the pipeline, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a briefing.
Previously, the Biden administration said it was in talks with a number of countries to act as safe havens until the US can complete the long visa process, a clear sign the government is well aware of the looming threat posed by the Taliban, reported CNN.
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said on Wednesday that the defence department “is considering options” where Afghan nationals and their families could potentially go.
“We’re still examining possibilities for overseas locations to include some departmental installations that would be capable of supporting planned relocation efforts with appropriate temporary residences and supporting infrastructure,” Kirby said.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration on Monday said it would evacuate 2,500 Afghan visa seekers along with their families who worked for America during the war against the Taliban and would house them in a military base in Virginia till their visas get cleared.
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