EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — A local veteran of the war in Afghanistan is lobbying to get his former interpreter safely evacuated from the Middle East country in turmoil.
Interpreters play an essential role for our troops in foreign nations. And in 2008, one helped save then-Army Staff Sergeant Earl Granville’s life following a roadside bombing in Afghanistan that nearly killed him.
Now, 13 years later, Granville is working to return the favor and get the interpreter and his family out of the country and away from the Taliban.
Pennsylvania Army National Guard veteran Earl Granville is no stranger to fighting for a cause. Now, he’s on a different mission. The Purple Heart recipient is fighting for the rescue of his former interpreter and his family. They are trapped during Taliban takeover of Afghanistan and very vulnerable.
“If he’s out in public and the Taliban finds out he’s been one that’s been working with coalition forces, they’re going to execute him. And if his family is with him, they’ll also be executed as well. So you could imagine how difficult this is,” Granville said.
Granville tells Eyewitness News the interpreter helped him moments after he lost his left leg in a 2008 roadside bombing in Afghanistan. That bombing claimed the life of two of Granville’s fellow soldiers.
“In those moments, we’re trained to do what we’re supposed to do. And we got to work, and so was my interpreter. He got right there just like everybody else and assisted where we needed him,” Granville said.
Granville says this interpreter has been working with coalition forces for nearly a decade, and even though Granville left the battlefield, they stay connected on social media. He keeps his friend’s identity a secret, not even sharing a photo, with the safety of the interpreter and his family in question.
“When we started pulling out recently, that last wave at the airport from my understanding is when he reached out to me. He’s like, hey, I have a target on my back, can you help in any way,” Granville said.
Granville is pleading with lawmakers and the military still in Afghanistan for that help.
“I don’t know what the outcome will be or where he’ll end up. Right now, i just want to get him away from the Taliban where he is obviously a huge target,” Granville said.
The clock is ticking for Granville’s interpreter, other refugees and Americans in Afghanistan. The Taliban has given the U.S. an August 31st deadline for complete withdrawal.