The U.S. military relies on local interpreters in Afghanistan to do important, possibly life-saving things like translating warnings about IEDs. And, in return, the Afghan translators get targets on their backs and the chance to live in fear of the day NATO pulls out and insurgents capture and behead them. John Oliver broke down this not-so-sweet deal on the most recent Last Week Tonight.
The U.S. does issue visas to Afghans, but the process is a 14-step labyrinth of paperwork and medical exams, just to get a chance at making it to America.
"It's next to impossible. It's akin to literally winning the lottery," explains a U.S. veteran in one of Oliver's clips.
He's not exaggerating: Only 3 special immigrant visas were issued to Afghans in 2011.
And while the translators are waiting to get out, their lives are being torn apart. One of them, Mohamed, saw his father killed, and his beloved 3-year-old brother kidnapped for a $35,000 ransom. Mohammad spent his entire live savings to get his brother back.
After 3 and a half years, he's finally made it to the U.S., where a clerical error changed his legal first name to "FNU"—short for First Name Unknown.
Thank you for your service, Fnu. We can do so much better.