US Army interpreter escapes Taliban after five years

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – An Afghan man who worked as an interpreter for the United States Army tried the past five years to reach US soil for safety.  He says the Taliban had threats on his life and had already killed members of his family.

Tuesday he finally made it to not only America, but to Indiana for safety.

It was a long and tedious fight.  There were thousands of petition signatures, calls to congressmen and a determined Hoosier on his side that together helped Hayat Nooristani flee persecution and enter his new found safety and freedom.

From 2006 to 2010 Nooristani worked as an interpreter and combatant for the U.S. Army.  The last several years he feared for his life.

“Those who work for the U.S. Army in Afghanistan all of them they have got the threat from the Taliban,” said Nooristani.

“It’s pretty amazing.  To be real honest with you I never thought he’d make it back.  I thought the Taliban would find him and kill him because they were looking for him,” said Dennis Norris.

Norris worked in Afghanistan rebuilding parts of the country the war destroyed.  He hired Nooristani from the army to help him connect with the locals there.

“He was my interpreter and my right hand man and my assistant for my job in Afghanistan,” said Norris.

Since Nooristani cooperated with the U.S. Army it made him eligible to receive a Special Immigration Visa as of 2009.  Norris says after Hayat failed at two attempts, he’d had enough.

“I was adamant that I wasn’t going to leave my friend behind.  Someone that had saved a lot of American lives.  Someone who had saved my life a few times,” said Norris.

Norris worked from the US drumming up support. He and change.org made a petition for Nooristani’s Visa.  The petition received more than 100,000 signatures urging the U.S. State Department to take action.

“We won brother,” said Norris.  “We won. Yes we did.  We did,” said Nooristani.

Fluent in 7 languages, Nooristani will attend IUPUI and he’ll be living with his new family, the Norris’s, safely in Indiana.

“It’s a great feeling.  It’s an honor.  Especially these people who helped me a lot.  It’s so good to be here and I’m so happy,” said Nooristani.

Norris says that Nooristani came to the US with nothing. Anyone who wants to help can send a check to:

Chase Bank
Hayat Nooristani Trust Fund.
1414 West Oak Street
Zionsville, IN  46077

Money will go toward medical needs and college tuition.

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