Afghan Interpreter Becomes a US Marine

 In Military

Mohammad Nadir grew up in Kabul, Afghanistan, the 6th child of 10. There were numerous US Military in the area, and he began dreaming of becoming one of them…specifically a US Marine. The road to his dream began when he was hired as a Afghan interpreter. And on May 26, his dream came true.

The road to the dream

When Nadir graduated from high school, he saw several companies that hired Afghan locals as interpreters  for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). It was his chance to be around the United States Military. He and his family assumed it would be a safe job. Nothing could have been further from the truth.

Nadir in Afghanistan as an interpreter – Photo by Sgt Jessica Quezada, USMC

In an article by Sgt. Jessica Quezada on DVIDS she writes,

Under the impression Nadir would be safe, his family wished him well as he left to the Sangin District of Helmand province, Afghanistan, in October 2011, where he spent the next three years working with multiple operational units and serving as a key influencer to the community. 

“I told my family it was a nice job and would be safe, but they didn’t know it was nothing like that. . . It was the worst place,” said Nadir…

“We were the ears and eyes of ISAF,” Nadir recalls. “I was serving my country and also the United States. I felt great. But you could see the distance between the locals and the U.S. personnel.”

Nadir recalls the apprehensive nature of locals whenever Americans traveled to a new area in their country. 

“They’d initially be scared and then realize we were here for good reasons. We would explain everything in their language and made them understand,” said Nadir. “We brought them closer together.”

Interpreters in danger

Interpreters who assist the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan are marked by the enemy for death and are viewed as traitors by the Taliban and other extremist groups. They become eligible for special visas, the SIV program (Special Immigration Visa), but if those visas do not come in fast enough, they or their families may be killed.

Some have had to flee for their lives while waiting, as in the case of an Iraqi friend of the author: he spent over a year on the run and went through numerous instances of being stabbed, arrested, beaten, and threatened. For him, it was a miracle when his visa finally came through and he was able to come to the US.

Nadir received his SIV in 2014, and landed on American soil on the Marine Corps birthday, November 10 that year.

“We met him at the airport and brought him to our home. Nadir helped us out when we needed him. He had been in some pretty dangerous situations, but was as good as they got. Interpreters put themselves in a lot of danger, more than we do.” Marine Corps Maj. Mark Nicholson

Nadir found work when he arrived, and began to study hard to improve his
English. In February 2017, he was able to enlist in the Marine Corps, and graduated from MCRD San Diego on May 26. His graduation fulfilled a life long dream.

“When I saw the Marines fighting I knew I wanted to do that. They are the brute force for a military and I respect them a lot for what I saw those Marines do in Afghanistan.” Mohammad Nadir, USMC



Featured Photo by  Sgt. Jessica Quezada, USMC, 12th Marine Corps District Q

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