Anxious wait over for Afghan interpreters who helped Kiwi troops

  • Breaking
  • 24/05/2014

There was a heart-warming reunion at the Mangere Refugee Centre in Auckland today as eight newly-arrived Afghan interpreters were greeted by former colleagues.

The group were originally denied the resettlement package offered to others employed by the New Zealand Defence Force in Afghanistan, despite threats against them by the Taliban, but after a year their anxious wait is finally over.

"I feel lucky", says former interpreter Mohsen Hosainian, "the only problem we have here is missing our families but people are very friendly here. The place is great, it's very green and everything is okay."

3 News met Mohsen in Kabul last year after he'd been denied resettlement in New Zealand. He said he feared for his life and described the Taliban's ritual punishment for Afghans who'd worked for foreign military.

"If they kill us with a kind of bullet we are happy but unfortunately what they do to interpreters [is] they cut their heads," he said.

While in Bamyan for the closing of the Kiwi base, Mohsen's case was put to Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman. And finally, after a year of lobbying, eight former interpreters and their families have been granted resettlement.

"I should pray to my God that they are still alive because for one year they were left, they were the best targets for enemies and insurgents but we are glad to see them alive in New Zealand," says former interpreter Parwiz Hakimi.

Parwiz says all of the interpreters now living in Hamilton have found full-time jobs, and he's confident Mohsen and the others will settle in well.

"There some organisations teaching us how to get a job, so, for sure, I need a job and l look for it," says Mohsen.

And while they're embracing Kiwi life, the Afghan cricket team can expect plenty of support at the world cup here next year.

3 News

source: newshub archive