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IMMIGRATION TIPS

Former Afghan interpreter starts new life in Australia after years of waiting for visa approval

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PHOTO Former interpreter Jan Bismillah says he has not heard if his visa application has been approved. SUPPLIED: SIMON QUAGLIA

With its sparkling harbour and busy suburban streets, the New South Wales city of Newcastle is a stark contrast to the arid desert and perilous terrain of Afghanistan.

For Afghan man Jan Bismillah Rahime, he has spent the last few years on alert for a Taliban attack on his and his family’s life.

The Taliban pinned letters to his door threatening to harm and kill him and his family.

Why?

Because he worked for six years as an interpreter alongside the Australian Army during the war in Afghanistan.

Waiting years to escape from terror

When the Australian Army began pulling-out of war-torn Afghanistan in 2013, interpreters who had served alongside coalition troops, could apply for Australian humanitarian visas.

Mr Bismillah was based in the deserts of Kandahar City, and in late 2012 submitted an Australian visa application.

When the ABC reported Mr Bismillah’s story in December 2015 , it had not been approved.

“[The] Taliban don’t have a heart. They kill children, they don’t care about anything. I’m 100 per cent sure they will kill my children if they get the chance,” Mr Bismillah said at the time.

“Every moment, every second, I feel that I’m a target. Life is very, very hard right now.”

Safety in Australia

In February 2016, Mr Bismillah was notified by the Australian Government that his humanitarian visa had been approved.

He had been waiting over three years for the news.

Mr Bismillah, his wife and five children have just arrived in Newcastle.

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PHOTO Jan Bismillah was reunited with former soldier Simon Quaglia in Newcastle.
1233 ABC NEWCASTLE: ROBERT VIRTUE

Upon arrival, he was reunited with retired Australian Army Major Simon Quaglia — one of the troops he interpreted for in Afghanistan.

“Jan had worked for the Australians for the longest period of time of all the interpreters, so it’s ironic that he was the last one they could get out,” Maj Quaglia said.

“Living in an environment where you can’t send your children to school, you’re getting death threats pinned to the front door, and Jan was changing his car every four to five weeks so that he wouldn’t be recognised; it was a highly-stressful place to be living in.”

Concern remains for family left behind

Over the last several years, Maj Quaglia was frustrated by the ongoing delays to the approval of Mr Bismillah’s visa.

“[I feared] ultimately somebody will get paid to kill them, or kidnap the children and extort him for money and then kill them,” Maj Quaglia said.

“It was a no-win situation.”

For Mr Bismillah, being granted access to Australia was a dream-come-true, but he is still concerned for those left behind.

“Now I’m not thinking about what’s going to happen to me, because I’m safe,” Mr Bismillah said.

“I’m not thinking right now who is following me, who is watching me; I’m just not thinking that.

“Right now I’m happy, very happy I’m in Australia. But still, half of my body is in Afghanistan — my family.”

Source : ABC NEWS

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About Ayotunde Aboderin

A professional blogger, an online Journalist and a passionate Immigration and visa Affairs individual.

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