Five years ago, my Afghan interpreter Janis Shinwari saved my life in a firefight against the Taliban. Ever since then, I've been trying to save his as the Taliban placed him on a kill list for his service to the US military.
Afghan and Iraqi interpreters are promised that if they give the United States military one year of "faithful and valuable service", they and their immediate families will receive Special Immigrant Visas to come to the United States. Janis has served our military for the past nine years. He has more than earned his place in America, so you can imagine our joy when after years of pleading with the State Department, the US embassy in Kabul issued him and his family US visas two weeks ago.
But this past Saturday, everything came crashing down. Janis called me at 2am in a panic. After giving him and his family their salvation, the State Department revoked it only two weeks later without any explanation.I spent the next few days calling the US embassy in Kabul and State Department to no avail. After total silence, they finally told me that his visa was revoked for reasons they could not legally address.
I investigated further and had my worst suspicions confirmed: in the two weeks since the State Department issued his visa, an anonymous "informant" contacted the US government and claimed all sorts of things about Janis. The informant's bogus claims eventually reached an analyst at the National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) in Washington DC who promptly put a security hold on Janis' visa, prompting the State Department to revoke it all together.
By revoking his visa, the US is literally endangering his life. I fear at this point we can only save Janis by shaming the US government into doing the right thing.
I will do whatever I have to to save his life. The United States military doesn't leave a solider behind. Janis is a member of my unit – a brother in arms – still trapped in Afghanistan. I will not leave him behind.