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Afghan interpreter safe in Tucson

Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 10:44 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -

An Afghan interpreter, who’d been helping U.S. forces since he was a teenager, is safe here in Tucson.

The refugee we can refer to only as “Zabi,” for security purposes, is part of the first wave of refugees to arrive in Southern Arizona, after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

We first shared Zabi’s story in August, as he waited with thousands at Kabul airport gates, desperate for rescue.

A Marine captain Zabi interpreted for, and Scottsdale immigration attorney Darius Amiri, worked day and night to coordinate a flight to Qatar for Zabi and his fiancé. From there, they flew to refugee relocation in New Mexico.

“It’s like something you’d see in a movie like a spy movie or something,” Amiri said. The attorney with Rose Law Group met Amiri at the airport, gifting him with a rolling suitcase filled with clothes. Over last weekend, Zabi settled in to a Tucson apartment.

“I feel safer walking around like no one’s following me or killing me,” Zabi said.

He moved in with a distant relative who’s who’s helping him get a job in the jewelry business. But, Zabi has bigger plans: to become a U.S. citizen, and then a marine.

“We were together in the battle field, we were together at the good times and bad times,” Zabi said.

Like so many Afghan interpreters helping U.S. units, Zabi put his life on the line daily.

“We were expecting to step on IEDs, be ambushed... anything was possible because we were in the battle field,” Zabi said, “but when U.S. Marines come from another country helping us, why should I not help my own people?”

Now, Zabi wishes he could do just that. He worries about those left behind, like his brothers.

“They are waiting on their death, for that day that the Taliban knocks down their door and take them out for torturing. They can do whatever they want right now because they have the power in Afghanistan, said Zabi.”

He showed a video of his toddler nephew sharing food with the family cat, and said he misses the little boy the most.

He prays his whole family will join him, but for now, he’s working on building a second family in Southern Arizona.

Copyright 2021 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.