Afghanistan and the bond between a Marine and an interpreter

Listen 49:15
Taliban fighters celebrate one year since they seized the Afghan capital, Kabul, in front of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. The Taliban marked the first-year anniversary of their takeover after the country's western-backed government fled and the Afghan military crumbled in the face of the insurgents' advance. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Taliban fighters celebrate one year since they seized the Afghan capital, Kabul, in front of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. The Taliban marked the first-year anniversary of their takeover after the country's western-backed government fled and the Afghan military crumbled in the face of the insurgents' advance. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

When Marine Corps Maj. THOMAS SCHUEMAN fought against the Taliban in Helmand Province, Afghan interpreter, Zainullah Zaki, was by his side. Zaki’s work for the American military went far beyond translating the language and culture for the platoon—he fought in combat and risked his life working with the Marines. But when it came to getting Zaki and his family out of Afghanistan, it was almost impossible.

For six years, Schueman fought bureaucracy to no avail. With the U.S. withdrawal last August, Zaki’s life was in even more peril and the need to extract him became more critical. Schueman will join us to talk about their friendship, the war in Afghanistan, and the hurdles to Zaki’s evacuation. The two men co-authored a new book, Always Faithful: A Story of the War in Afghanistan, the Fall of Kabul, and the Unshakable Bond Between a Marine and an Interpreter.

But first, we talk with New York Times Afghanistan correspondent CHRISTINA GOLDBAUM about how much life has changed in the country one year after American forces’ messy withdrawal and the Taliban’s takeover.

We recommend

The New York Times, Taliban Rewind the Clock: ‘A Woman Is a Helpless and Powerless Creature’ – “A year into Taliban rule, Afghanistan has seemed to hurtle backward in time.”

Task & Purpose, This Marine wasn’t about to let his Afghan interpreter get captured by the Taliban -“Always Faithful is a braided memoir of two lives that intersect at pivotal moments. Tom and Zak write of the chaos of their younger lives and the subsequent beauty that arose from the carnage.”

 

Subscribe for more Radio Times

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal