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Air Force veteran from Lapeer working to get translator out of Afghanistan

Posted at 4:07 PM, Aug 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-23 16:07:28-04

(WXYZ) — As the evacuations continue, many Afghans who served alongside the United States are in hiding, trying desperately to get out.

An Air Force veteran who grew up in Lapeer is fighting desperately to save the man who served as her interpreter during her tour in Afghanistan.

“I'm a sister to him, he tells me that often,” said Kimberly Osbourn, a retired US Air Force Senior Master Sgt.

When Osbourn arrived in Afghanistan more than 10 years ago, her mission was to assist the Afghan military in establishing a reliable hospital. In the process, she became lifelong friends with the interpreter who was at her side, every single day.

“These interpreters, not only are they at risk for their lives but their family members are at risk," Osbourn said. "That whole 10 months that I was there, he protected me and my family so I could come back home to my home country.”

That interpreter was hoping to come to this country too. His service to the US meant he and his family were eligible for a Special Immigrant Visa called SIV, which he applied for more than 10 years ago.

We aren't using his name or showing his face because right now he’s still in Afghanistan, hiding from the Taliban.

On Friday, President Joe Biden was asked about these visa applicants, and saId saying efforts are underway to get them out.

“Yes, we’re making the same commitment,” President Biden said. "There's no more important than bringing an American citizens out. I acknowledge that, but they're equally important almost as all those who those SIVs, we call them, who in fact helped us, they were translators. They went into battle with us. They were part of the operation."

Osbourn says she’s been contacting government officials, who tell her the interpreter along with his wife and young kids all have a spot on a flight out of Afghanistan. However with the Taliban in control and the Kabul airport in chaos, she worries they may not make it.

“I know it's very bleak, but at least I know I'm trying everything I physically can do to help," Osbourn said. "To make it be known that he is there and he has not been forgotten, and that I am fighting for his life and the life of his family just as I know he would have sacrificed his life for me in a second.”