When Afghanistan fell to the Taliban there were dire warnings that Afghans who had worked with coalition troops would be targeted by the Taliban.
This week, a former Afghan soldier who worked as an interpreter for the Australian Defence Force was murdered by the Taliban.
The interpreter’s sister lives in Australia and has been trying to secure humanitarian visas for the soldier’s family.
As his wife and children remain in hiding in Afghanistan, feared to be in extreme danger, the ABC has chosen not to reveal the soldier’s identity.
Sydney-based Afghan lawyer Sharhi Rafi has been in touch with the interpreter’s sister and told the ABC the family had made desperate attempts to secure visas for their loved ones.
“Each time she would call me, she would cry on the floor. And then she tried to knock on every door possible to get the family rescued,” she told RN Breakfast.
Ms Rafi said the family applied for a humanitarian visa on August 26 and followed up with the Immigration Department on several occasions to try and expedite the visa process.
Ms Rafi said the interpreter was on the Taliban’s notorious “kill list” and was murdered for his connection to the Australian Army.
“Unfortunately, we lost a human being who’s served and helped the Australian Army and Afghanistan army, and he’s executed now and his family is in a desperate situation,” she said.
“And they are not the only ones, unfortunately.”
There are photos showing the interpreter working alongside Australian soldiers.
But when his family contacted the ADF to try and reach two soldiers they believed he had worked closely with, the ADF refused to provide their contact details, citing confidentiality reasons.
When the Australian government was in the process of evacuating people from Afghanistan in late August the interpreter and his family were unable to flee the country.
While the interpreter’s family waits for a visa to Australia that may never come, there are serious concerns for the safety of his wife and three children.
“(He has) young daughters that they (the Taliban) can turn them into their brides, and they can kill the son if they find them,” Ms Rafi said.
“They are really, really scared.”
The situation in Afghanistan remains chaotic and unstable, with the international community not recognising the legitimacy of a Taliban government.
The Australian government has so far allocated 3,000 places within its humanitarian intake for this financial year, but more than 10,000 Afghans are estimated to have applied for the visa program since the fall of Kabul.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke told RN Breakfast that he could not discuss individual cases like that of the interpreter, due to the dangerous situation on the ground in Afghanistan for those trying to flee.
“If people get a visa and rush to a border and are rounded up or indeed executed on the way, you can understand how difficult that can be,” he said.
“It is very hard to talk about details and I won’t do that today because there are people’s lives at stake.”
Glenn Kolomeitz, a former ADF soldier turned lawyer, is working with hundreds of Afghans trying to get to Australia.
Mr Kolomeitz said he had been warning the federal government about the risks that Australia’s Afghan colleagues faced “for months, if not years”.
“One of our clients was captured recently and shot in the leg. He then contacted DFAT to try and get a visa expedited and they came back and asked for a police report and hospital report in Kabul,” he told RN Breakfast.
“We’re not getting any answers from Home Affairs, we’re not getting visas granted and they’re not issuing those emergency visas anymore, it appears.”Internet Explorer Channel Network