PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Governor Doug Ducey has pledged his support for Afghan refugees displaced by the Taliban's takeover. But there is still a concern for those who are stuck there, and for Dallin Webb, that concern is personal.
Webb is an Arizona Army National Guard member who was stationed in Afghanistan between 2018 and 2019. While there, he used an interpreter to help advise a combat medic training program. But after the Taliban's takeover, the interpreter (whose identity has been hidden for safety purposes) now fears for both his own safety and his family's safety.
In an email to Webb, the interpreter told him that "I'm at home. I can't go outside because they will kill me." It might be hard to believe, but Webb looks back on his time in Afghanistan fondly. And a big reason why is because of his relationship with his interpreter.
"He's very humble, despite how much he knows," Webb said. "He is a really kind person, and he's a very hard worker."
But after being denied a special immigration visa, the interpreter, his wife, and their two kids have gone into hiding. They're unsure of what's next.
"Interpreters for the U.S. Army are considered as the enemy to Taliban," said Afghan Association Arizona's Nakib Isaczai.
Isaczai should know. He was an Afghani interpreter for the U.S. Army a decade ago. Compared to now, things were relatively peaceful back then. Now, Isaczai heads Afghan Association Arizona, and has been trying to expedite the process of bringing Afghan refugees to the U.S.
"There is a legal way to bring siblings or parents to the United States, and that takes 5-6 years," Isaczai said. "But in Afghanistan, you see there is chaos, and no one has ten years. It's a matter of days."
President Biden's recent comments that he would help evacuation efforts for tens of thousands of Afghans who have aided U.S. war efforts in Afghanistan, combined with Governor Ducey's willingness to welcome these refugees, has both Isaczai and Webb feeling optimistic about Dallin's Interpreter and countless others.
"You get an email from your interpreter saying he's out of there," Elliott Polokaff asked. "What do you think's going to be going through your head?"
"I'll be happy for him," Webb responded. "I'd love to see him again, see if we can go grab some food some time, meet his family. I never met his family while we were there."