KABUL – A growing number of Afghan interpreters who worked alongside American troops are being denied U.S. visas allotted by Congress because the State Department says there is no serious threat against their lives.
But the interpreters, many of whom served in Taliban havens for years, say U.S. officials are drastically underestimating the danger they face. Immigration attorneys and Afghan interpreters say the denials are occurring just as concerns about Taliban retribution are mounting due to the withdrawal of U.S. forces.
Robert Hilton, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, said the applications are examined by an embassy committee, which decides whether they should move forward to Washington.
Hilton and other U.S. officials would not explain what constitutes a “serious threat” or discuss specific cases in which applicants were denied visas.