President Joe Biden (D) made it clear that he wanted American troops to exit Afghanistan by September 11th, but lawmakers have also called for the retrieval of interpreters that have helped. For the past several months, Florida Rep. Michael Waltz (R) has criticized the Biden administration over its announcement. In a new interview with 60 Minutes, Waltz shared an anecdote of his interpreter, warning that he is “incredibly afraid for them” as American troops return home.
Earlier this month, Rep. Waltz commented that it’s “encouraging to see the Biden Administration finally begin to focus on evacuating Afghan interpreters from Afghanistan so they can be processed through the Special Immigration Visa (SIV) program safely.” However, the lawmaker also shared that he felt the “time has run out.”
During an interview with 60 Minutes, the U.S. Army Green Beret recounted that “my interpreter was often more important to me than a heavy machine gun or a radio to be able to talk to the Air Force.” He added that “without that asset, I was basically… deaf.”
“I am incredibly afraid for them. When that last American soldier goes wheels up out of Afghanistan, we will have handed these people a death sentence…We need to get them out,” says Rep. Mike Waltz about battlefield translators left behind in Afghanistan. https://t.co/G6tf5ZEltG pic.twitter.com/SSe2jQsdWU
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) July 19, 2021
The Florida lawmaker shared the interview segment on his Twitter account, commenting that he is “incredibly afraid for them” because “when that last American soldier goes wheels up out of Afghanistan, we will have handed these people a death sentence.” In turn, Rep. Waltz commented that “we need to get them out” as well.
Rep. Waltz is introduced as the first Green Beret elected to Congress, and the Florida GOP member shared a picture of his translator, “who was waiting on SIV approval when he was stopped at a Taliban checkpoint.”
“When the Taliban found him with that paperwork… they followed him home,” Waltz explained. “Not only did they behead him, but they dragged several of his brothers and his cousins out and killed them as well,” Waltz noted.