Former NZDF interpreter warns Afghan nationals granted New Zealand visas currently unable to leave 'will be killed' if found while hiding from Taliban

Almost 500 Afghan nationals and their families who served with New Zealand soldiers are hiding from the Taliban unable to get out of the country.

They've been granted New Zealand visas but can't escape. Now, an interpreter is pleading for the Government to do more before "they're found and killed" by the Taliban.

Bashir Ahmad, a former New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) interpreter, along with his wife Zahra and their four children have only recently left managed isolation after making it out of Kabul.

"I feel very safe [in New Zealand]. I feel like I've come to a different planet," Ahmad tells Newshub.

"Here now I can talk freely - in Afghanistan I was scared."

Newshub first met him in August where he was huddled together up a hillside with others who'd worked for New Zealand, all terrified of the Taliban.

As the United States withdrew from the country, the terrorist organisation rapidly seized control. Anyone who had been associated with coalition forces was now a target.

"We were in hiding, you know, we were in hiding and it was very stressful," Ahmad says.

The NZDF managed to make three successful evacuation flights in and out of Kabul airport. It was a race to evacuate as many as possible and each time they had only one hour to load people on board and take off again.

But finding the right people in a sea of human desperation was extraordinarily difficult. Nothing showed that more than dozens of people clinging to and falling from a US air force plane as it tried to take off. 

And not everyone, including Ahmad and his family, made it out. They lived in absolute terror that the Taliban would discover them.

"As long as the Taliban are there I don't think there will be any hope, any hope. They don't believe in human rights - they're just a group of terrorists," he says.

It took Ahmad and his family three months to escape. They were helped by former NZDF staff who served in Afghanistan alongside them and felt a duty to get them out. 

Newshub understands these under the radar operations are continuing, but Ahmad won't reveal how they did it because they're still desperately trying to get out another 30 families who worked for the NZDF.

"Right now it is the wintertime. Some of them don't have food, some don't have clothes at all, so the main problem is they're in a bad situation security-wise. They are in hiding right now, they're really in hiding," Ahmad says.

As it became clear the Taliban were easily going to overrun Afghanistan, Immigration New Zealand opened a special resettlement offer. More than 1300 visas were granted and 780 people have arrived here. But drilling down into those numbers, 547 visas were for those who had worked for the NZDF and their immediate family members, but of that group - to whom we are most indebted - only 60 have made it into the country so far.

A total of 547 of them were granted because an immediate family member worked for the NZDF, but only 60 of them have made it into the country.

Ahmad says it's hard to overstate the danger they face as they struggle to escape.

"A guard that worked for New Zealand, I think he was killed, [another] was killed - if they are found, they will be killed."

While his thoughts are never far from those still in Afghanistan, Ahmad and his family are doing their best to adapt to their new lives here.