My Afghan Combat Translator Saved My Life In The War. Together We've Saved Over 5,000 Additional Lives. Ask Us Anything.
My name is Matt Zeller and I am a US Army Afghan War veteran, a fellow at the Truman National Security Project, and author of Watches Without Time (Just World Books, 2012). Today, I'm joined by my Afghan combat interpreter, Janis, who saved my life in a firefight in Ghazni, Afghanistan in 2008. The Taliban responded by putting Janis on the top of their kill list. After four years and the assistance of numerous Congressmen and media outreach, I welcomed Janis home to the US in October of 2013. He arrived in the United States with basically only the clothes on his back. I created a GoFundMe page for him to help his family restart their lives in the US - strangers donated close to $35,000. When I attempted to give Janis the check, he turned it down, asking me if we could start a nonprofit to help the interpreters who are still stuck in Afghanistan and often arrive in the United States with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Four years later, we are the Co-Founders of No One Left Behind (www.nooneleft.org), a nonprofit with 10 chapters in various US cities, and we have helped nearly 5,000 people resettle in the United States. However, we know that there are another 14,000 interpreters and their families still waiting for the State Department to process their visa applications.
To learn more, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95ZN7-rHXeY
Ask US Anything