Be His Hero: Save My Family's Lives
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As an Afghan interpreter for the U.S. military, it was my honor to serve the United States.
But in retaliation for my work alongside the U.S. Marines, the Taliban captured, tortured, and murdered my father. I moved my family to safety and continued to serve. Three years later, the Taliban struck my family again by kidnapping my my then three-year old brother and holding him for ransom. We paid the ransom and fled the country. I was able to come to the U.S. this January, but my family remains in danger. I need your help to save them.
I have never seen my father happier than when I told him I was volunteering to be an interpreter for the U.S. Marines. He told me he was proud that his son had chosen to serve with the Americans to free Afghanistan from the Taliban's rule.
In the summer of 2009, while I was working at the main entry gate of Marine Corps Base Camp Dwyer, a Taliban sympathizer from my hometown of Kandahar recognized me. A few days later, Dad disappeared.
A broadcast soon came over the radio: an unidentified body had been found in a dried riverbed and needed to be claimed at the morgue. My mother made a trip that no wife should ever have to make to see if the body was that of her husband. By this time, Dad had been missing for a week.
In the morgue, Mom found a body with missing fingertips and riddled with bullet holes, including one in the head. She knew we had lost Dad when she noticed the body’s shoes– my father was still wearing the sandals I had given him as a keepsake when I left to work as an interpreter. We wore the same size shoes.
In the face of such tragedy, and despite continued mortal risk to myself and my family, I decided to continue to serve alongside Coalition Forces for three more years in an effort to improve my country.
Sadly, after four years serving with the Coalition Forces and the U.S. Military, the Taliban once again struck my family, kidnapping my then 3-year old brother.
My big brother, Adrian Kinsella, has spent the last three-and-a-half years fighting to get me safely to the United States. With the help of nonprofits such as IRAP, the Pat Tillman Foundation, and fellow Americans citizens, my big brother reached out to politicians and media across the country and elicited the aid of 11 U.S. Senators and Congressmen to expedite the process. In January, I arrived. I am now living with Adrian in Berkeley and have already landed a job at a video equipment manufacturer.
I don’t fear for my safety tonight, but I know that my family continues to suffer. They live their current lives as if in a prison; they cannot work, go to school, or even leave their house. Please help me free them from this prison and bring them to safety.
*Usafi is my tribe name. In order to protect my family, I'm not using my last name.
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