SAN JOSE–On Thursday, KTVU uploaded a video of reporter Maureen Naylor’s interview with former translator for the United States Army, Sher Haidari, 26.
Haidari shared his experience about putting his own life in danger to save American soldiers.
In 2007, when he was 17, Haidari (who speaks four languages and went by the alias “Mikey” to conceal his true identity) began working in Afghanistan as a translator for the U.S. Army. Naylor explained that he served as the “eyes and ears for the U.S. military in the war zone.” Upon leaving Afghanistan, he was earning $750
“It’s a feeling of scared,” Haidari explained to Naylor in the video, asserting that “you feel like you’re going to die any second.”
Haidari currently has several recommendation letters (nearly three dozen, according to the Associated Press) from military officials “commending him for his bravery.”
Tyler Rund, Army Captain, wrote in one letter that “Mikey distinguished himself, running through the middle of the gunfight to give ammunition to one of my vehicles that had run out. Had he been an American soldier, it was the kind of valor that we give medals for.”
Haidari then described a “harrowing translation” he made in 2009. His life, along with those of American soldiers, were allegedly “on the line” after hearing an archenemy demand that their soldiers were to shoot the American soldiers from behind “so they don’t fight us face to face so we can kill at least a couple of them or all of them.”
He heard voices of the Taliban over the radio, speaking in code that they planned to target two dozen soldiers. A three-hour battle took place, during which four American soldiers were wounded in the face and back, and Haidari was shot in his rear end, the San Diego Reader reported on December 14.
“I told my PO, I was like, ‘Listen man, we’re about to get killed right now–right over here…they’re tracking us right now. Right away he turned his face and told all the guys to get on the ground. The minute we get on the ground, the firefight start,” he told KTVU.
According to the Associated Press, Haidari completed a three-hour interview for his immigrant visa in 2011. He reportedly received death threats from then up until this year, when his visa was approved.
Dave Sossaman, 57, a Ramona resident former police officer, and Department of Defense contractor in Afghanistan, worked with Haidari on security details and assisted him and his family upon their arrival in the United States in October. Sossaman and his wife housed the family for a until they found an apartment.
As of November, the San Diego Reader wrote, Haidari and his family hold permanent resident cards.
KTVU announced on December 22 that he now resides in San Jose with his wife, Tamana Amiri, 18, and their infant son.
He explained to the Associated Press, “There’s a lot of other interpreters who were shot, hurt, are crazy disabled, and all of them are stuck in Afghanistan.”
In addition to passing his driver’s test and receiving his license, Haidari and his family have received assistance from friends who started an online fundraiser to help them buy a used car and pay for a few months rent. According to KTVU, they raised nearly $5000 over the course of two weeks.
Amiri shared (through a translator) that she “misses home” but that living in the United States “comes with a welcome and dramatically different life.” She then explained, “The biggest change in my life from moving from Afghanistan to the United States is feeling more secure and safe in my daily life. In Afghanistan we lived in fear.”
KTVU wrote that Haidari and Amiri are “looking to the future.” Haidari is working toward earning his GED and becoming a police officer, while Amiri plans to learn English.