His name is Zabi, but to many of the U.S. Marines he served with in Afghanistan, this combat interpreter was known as the “Mighty Mouse.”
After years of serving as an interpreter for the U.S. Marines in some of the most dangerous locations in Afghanistan, Zabi certainly earned the name.
He first began working as an interpreter after one of his classmates became a translator. Jealous of his friend, Zabi began studying English, determined to become an interpreter.
After completing his studies, Zabi was told he was too young, but that did not stop him.
“I went back home and start shaving, shaving, shaving until I grew up a little bit, and I came back,” he told The Western Journal.
Even when they assigned him to the Helmand Province, one of the most dangerous places in the country, Zabi didn’t flinch.
“Then they told me, ‘Are you sure? We are going to send you to Helmand province. It’s one of the most dangerous province in the country.’ I said, ‘Yeah, I know that.'”
During his time in the Helmand province, Zabi saw first-hand the Taliban’s method of fighting and how it took the lives of many innocents.
“Especially, I remember one day, and I cannot forget that day, we were on the infantry patrol. We got ambushed from Taliban. There was a young girl playing on the ground. She got shot right in the head. Yeah, she got shot in the head from Taliban,” Zabi recounted. “And then [the Taliban] blamed U.S. Marines … They were trying somehow to bring the villagers against the U.S. Marines.”
After years as an interpreter, Zabi did not believe the rumors he heard that the U.S. troops were leaving the country.
“[T]hey had too many casualties here. So and that’s not logical. And they leave everything behind. And especially most of [the] people have worked with them. They would not do that,” Zabi said when he heard the rumors.
But then he saw the Taliban take over the police station, and “when I saw by my own eyes, like turbans and rifles, everything … I said, ‘No, I’m wrong.'”
Zabi and a fellow interpreter then went to Kabul and saw the withdrawal happening and people leaving. And it made them cry.
“I said, ‘We got to cry.’ Yeah, because it made us emotional, and it was uncontrollable. We tried to control ourselves not to become emotional, but we couldn’t. And we like, cried for like 20 minutes … It was hard to stop,” Zabi said.
Zabi then headed for the airport and tried to leave the country. He knew that if he stayed, it would be too dangerous.
At the airport, there was complete chaos.
As crowds tried to press through the gate, he said that soldiers had to use pepper spray and rubber bullets; people were trampling each other, and there was no control.
It didn’t matter who had documents and passports or who had a real reason to get out of the country — like interpreters who would be threatened by the Taliban. With the crowds, there was no order. They all just rushed to get inside the airport.
Zabi was the only member of his family who managed to flee the country.
He said that as the Taliban took over, they began going from house to house, stopping cars and searching people and taking them away.
“They have no logic because they have never gone to school. Yeah, they have no logic,” Zabi said. “They have never gone to school. The only thing that they know: killing. Yeah, that’s all they know. Killing and fighting.”
Zabi said the Taliban even tried to convince people, like the interpreters, not to leave the country. They were needed to help people and aid in the country’s transfer of power, Taliban soldiers reasoned.
But the Taliban knows nothing but violence, even if they tried to convince people otherwise, Zabi explained.
“They don’t know nothing. They grow up in a mountain. They only do know just killing and nothing else. So that’s how the situation was. When they were stopping someone, you had no idea. You had no right to talk with them. Just shut up. And [they] start beating,” he said.
After years of serving with the U.S. Marines, experiencing the chaos of getting out of Afghanistan and watching the Taliban take over his country, Zabi believes that the Biden administration simply did a terrible job withdrawing from the country.
“I hate politicians. That’s how I am, and I don’t care about anyone or what he thinks. I hate politicians. And Biden, the way that they pulled out U.S. troops wasn’t good way, honestly … at least they could give a chance for those who have worked with them … first, they needed to take those people out, not to bring them to the U.S.A., somewhere else,” Zabi said.
But he also blames Afghans and the president that left the country, even though many believed in him.
“Anyway, they had to leave the country. But I blame our own people the most. Yeah, our president left us. People did support him. People were thinking, ‘Oh, he grew up in the United States, and he studied in the United States. He have an open mind,'” Zabi said. “‘He has studied everything about the economy, all those things,’ that’s what people were believing. When he left us, he left his nation. So we cannot expect someone else not to leave us.”
But even though the withdrawal was a mess and the Taliban took over the country, Zabi believes that his country cannot lose hope.
“Honestly, we must not lose hope. No matter what type of situation or hard times comes. The Taliban took over the country, it’s hard times for everyone … it’s been many decades. Fighting is going back in Afghanistan, 2002 Taliban, before that Russians and now again, Taliban,” Zabi said. “So most of the people that believe Afghanistan would never be a peaceful country. But we have a hope, and we will try for it.”
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