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One year later, Afghan officer with Missouri connection remains in hiding – St. Louis Post-Dispatch

ST. LOUIS — The former Afghan officer feels like a prisoner in his own home. The black curtains are often drawn, and he rarely goes out.

When he does, maybe to take his wife and four children to the doctor, …….

ST. LOUIS — The former Afghan officer feels like a prisoner in his own home. The black curtains are often drawn, and he rarely goes out.

When he does, maybe to take his wife and four children to the doctor, his brother goes ahead to make sure there aren’t Taliban checkpoints.

“All our close friends laugh at me and say that you spent your whole life with the American forces, but in the end, they left you alone and you can’t go outside because of fear,” the officer said Friday by email from Kabul.

The Post-Dispatch first wrote about his situation following the U.S. evacuation from Afghanistan on Aug. 31, 2021. A retired U.S. Army officer who had trained with the man at Fort Leonard Wood hoped to call attention to his plight and help him escape.

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While about 80,000 Afghan refugees have been resettled in the U.S., including more than 600 in St. Louis, his family is among thousands of unlucky ones.

There are at least 78,000 people — interpreters, security guards, cashiers — left behind in Afghanistan who had Special Immigrant Visas pending at the time of the evacuation, according to a recent report by the Association of Wartime Allies. Many others haven’t made it that far in the paperwork, like this former officer who didn’t want to be named for security concerns.

“I am still burning in hell, and I still can’t leave my house,” he said.

He’d studied twice in the U.S., including professional training with Army officers at Fort Leonard Wood in south-central Missouri and a fun trip to the top of the Arch.

During parts of the 20-year war, he said, he worked with U.S. forces as an intelligence and reconnaissance officer who coordinated and participated in operations. His specialty was roadside bombs.

He said he has since tried to burn, bury and erase records and uniforms that easily link him to his work history.

One year of hide and seek, he said, his wife still sleeps poorly, scared that the Taliban will arrest and kill him.

“When I see the innocent faces of my children and my wife, my eyes fill with tears,” he said.

He said they bought second-grade books to teach their children at home. He said the Taliban are known to ask students what their fathers did during the war to find targets.

He said he tried several times to get hired doing remote work from home, but applicants must confirm “a letter of non-responsibility” from the Taliban Intelligence Directorate, which includes screening.

He said they sold all their …….

Source: https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/state-and-regional/one-year-later-afghan-officer-with-missouri-connection-remains-in-hiding/article_e900da6d-89d8-5ac6-8422-ac15685cff44.html

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