This Afghan man who helped US Army Special Forces pleads for help to escape the Taliban: ‘They will kill us’
In the past few days, Moh has been moving from province to province to stay one step ahead of the Taliban. He's now in Kabul and talked to The World's host, Marco Werman, about his desperate situation in Afghanistan.
Taliban fighters stand guard in front of the Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 16, 2021. Thousands of people packed into the Afghan capital's airport on Monday, rushing the tarmac and pushing onto planes in desperate attempts to flee the country after the Taliban overthrew the Western-backed government.
Editor's note: On Monday, Moh, a young, Afghan man who worked with the US Army spoke to The World about his plight. He asked for his full name not to be used, to protect his identity. On Friday, Moh spoke to the show again with an update on his status and gave us permission to use his full name, Mohammad Azim Nekzad. He said he made it to the Kabul airport safely and is taking a military transport plane to Doha on Friday. He'll be processed there, he said, and relocated to the US. He said that once he's in the US, he'll send for his family. He had to leave them behind out of fear for their safety at the chaotic Kabul airport. Listen to his Aug. 20 interview here.
Mohammad Azim Nekzad worked for six years with US Army Special Forces, removing land mines. Later, as a radio DJ, he specialized in psychological warfare and propaganda against the Taliban.
Courtesy of Mohammad Azim Nekzad
One of the people desperate to get out of Afghanistan is a man named Moh — we're not using his full name because his life is at risk.
He worked for six years with US Army Special Forces, removing land mines. Later, as a radio DJ, he specialized in psychological warfare and propaganda against the Taliban.
Ever since then, he says the Taliban has hounded him with death threats.
Moh first applied for a Special Immigrant Visa back in 2014. He reapplied as recently as this past May.
In the past few days, Moh has been moving from province to province to stay one step ahead of the Taliban.
He's now in Kabul and talked to The World's host, Marco Werman, about his dire predicament in Afghanistan.
Marco Werman: Tell me about your living conditions in Kabul, first of all.
Moh: I am from Ghazni province, where there are a lot of Taliban forces. And I came to Kabul because I was thinking that the Taliban would not come to Kabul. Now, I'm in one place. I am inside a home. I haven't gone outside, because I don't want them to know that I'm in this place, because the Taliban's trying to find us.
So, you've managed to go from province to province. You finally arrived in Kabul. Are you moving inside the city of Kabul or staying put at this house?
No, no, no, sir. I am living in one house. There's nobody who knows that I am living in this house because the Taliban don't check every house. They're just trying to find those people that worked with the American Army, but they couldn't find me because now nobody knows my house. I'm not with my family. I'm living alone.
What are the risks of stepping outside? Like, if you went to the market today, what would happen?
If I go to the market, they will catch me. The Taliban is everywhere. There are no police, there is no Afghan government, there's nothing. Just the Taliban. The bazaar, the market is closed now.
Have you tried to go to the airport to join the thousands of people who are trying to get out on any flight, out of the country?
If I don't have a visa or ticket, how can I travel anywhere? Because I know this is very risky for me. If I go to the airport, there are lots of Taliban. If I take my documents that I worked with US Army, if I go outside, there's the Taliban, and the checkpoints of the Taliban. They will check my cellphones and also they'll check all my documents. How can go to the airport?
So, you can't leave your house, you can't go to the airport. I mean, it sounds like your options are really limited. How will you leave the country, if you can? And if you can't leave, then what?
If we don't get any visa or we don't get anything, then we will die, because we will go outside, and they will kill us.
You worked with US special forces on demining operations. You also worked in radio as a DJ doing psychological operations. What did that involve exactly?
I started my job at a radio station on June 1, 2012. The Afghan radio station that the US Army made for Afghan people to put out messages against the Taliban — that the Taliban is a terrorist group, and they're killing civilians, things like this. And also, we tried to put out messages for the Afghan people that the American Army and the American government are helping the Afghan people. For those messages, the Taliban tried to find me, because they know my name. They know everything about me.
Given the impact a radio DJ has on a large group of people, how high-value a target do you think that makes you for the Taliban?
I was injured two times, and the third time they tried to ambush me, like one month ago, and my two friends were killed by the Taliban. The Taliban came to my house in 2015 and they killed my uncle because he was supporting me.
And did you say there was another attack on you recently?
Yeah, last month, the Taliban attacked my car when I was travel. I don't know how they knew. Somebody gave my information, and they ambushed my car.
When was the last time you had any communication with American authorities about your Special Immigrant Visa?
I have been in connection with my supervisors, and they are still waiting for confirmation that the SIV [is being processed] by the embassy, and the embassy is not responding to any emails.
Yeah, well, it seems everybody's been cleared out. You worked for the US for years, undertaking risky activities on their behalf, demining, psychological operations. Given how hard you worked for the US, are you angry that you don't have that visa?
Yes, because, you know, sir, I worked very well. I was injured and everybody knows, I have the documents. Why didn't they give me the visa? Now, I'm not safe, my life is not safe. Why is the US government not looking out for us, why have they left us behind? I don't know the reason why because we have been waiting for a long time for the visa, and we need a safe life for my family.I have one kid, he's my son, and my wife. If I die, I am thinking about the future of my kids, what they will do, what should we do? I don't know, sir, why they left us behind. I worked very well with them, I was honest. I work with the special forces and [removers] of the IEDs, very dangerous jobs, very dangerous.
Mohammad Azim Nekzad, who previously helped the US Army Special Forces, said on Aug. 20, 201, that he had made it safely to the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Courtesy of Mohammad Azim Nekzad
What is your message right now to the United States and the world about what needs to happen in Afghanistan?
I just have a small message that please, please help those Afghan people that worked with the US Army because the Taliban thinks that we are not Muslims. Now, the Taliban, they will kill us, as soon as possible, they will kill us. Day by day, they will kill all of us, who worked with the US Army.
This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.
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