Afghan interpreter Moneer, one of the many who helped U.S. forces in Afghanistan over the past 20 years, managed to escape the country earlier this month — but he fears for his colleagues who remain there.
Fox News is only using Moneer’s first name.
For years he tried to obtain a visa from the U.S. but was unsuccessful, he said; his service with NATO forces alongside the British afforded him the opportunity to get a visa from the U.K. in a matter of weeks. “I wish the Americans’ process was that easy,” he said in a phone conversation with Fox News.
Moneer said he applied for a U.S. Special Immigrant Visa on more than one occasion, his first attempt being in 2013. The first time, he told CBS in July, the State Department told him his documents were fraudulent but did not let him appeal. He told Fox News that he currently has a request that is still pending.
Fortunately, he had friends willing to help him. A former Green Beret who worked with Moneer in the past raised money that allowed him to get out. Moneer was able to hop on a flight to Dubai, and from there he worked with the U.K. embassy to get a visa.
Moneer is currently in London, but his family, friends and colleagues have not been as fortunate.
“Their lives are in danger,” Moneer said, pointing to how there are 18,000 people who were in his position and applied for visas to escape to the U.S. with their families.
“Right now we are in a bad situation,” he said. “My colleagues and my friends, we worked together, we served together, we fought together and they’re in danger. I feel so bad for them.”
Meanwhile, people have been flooding the Kabul airport looking to escape, and Moneer is concerned that at this rate the U.S. will not be able to save the “real heroes” who have been left behind.
“America owes me a lot because I’ve done a lot for the American government,” said Moneer, who worked with the Green Berets and SEAL Team Six. He said he is proud of the work he has done, and that his only regret is recommending other people for interpreter jobs because those people are now stuck in Afghanistan.
“Please, we’ve done our jobs honestly,” he said. “Don’t leave them behind.”
Fox News’ Andrew Murray contributed to this report.