Marine Captain And Afghan Combat Interpreter Reunited After Years-Long Visa Struggles

| by Amanda Schallert

Three and a half years after Marine Capt. Adrian Kinsella worked with Afghan combat interpreter Mohammad while on tour, the friends are living together in Northern California and starting a new life in America for Mohammad.

The former interpreter guided Kinsella through dangerous situations in Afghanistan in 2010, putting his life and his family’s safety at risk to help the soldiers’ efforts against the Taliban, according to the Contra Costa Times.

"He gave you the context needed in a war zone," Kinsella said. "He would tell you what was really going on when he translated. He would say, 'They're lying, and this is why.' This was a man who really wanted to have a hand in creating a better place."

When Kinsella was called home, he felt that he couldn’t leave the man he calls a brother behind. So he began the frustrating process of trying to obtain a visa for his friend.

Staying in Afghanistan was extremely dangerous for Mohammad and his family, reports NBC News. In 2009, his father had been murdered and his body mutilated by members of the Taliban because Mohammad was helping Americans. His 3-year-old brother was also held for ransom, per the San Francisco Chronicle, but returned safely after Mohammad paid for him back.

In California, Mohammad now works at a tech company and is trying to become a U.S. citizen. He drives a used Prius and is hoping to help other interpreters like him get to the U.S. when their lives are threatened. Kinsella is also involved in these efforts, supporting his friend and the cause all the way.

Mohammad keeps an American flag, medals honoring his service and his younger brother’s ransom note in his bedroom.

Though he arrived in January, concerns about his family are largely on his mind. He keeps the note as a reminder of the threats they face, knowing that he cannot give up on trying to get them to the United States.  

Source: Contra Costa Times, NBC News, San Francisco Chronicle