BROOMFIELD, Colo. — For so many Afghans, the obstacles to simply getting on a plane are overwhelming. A city councilwoman from Broomfield and her husband are fighting to get his Afghan interpreter to the United States.
The interpreter, Kevin, is in hiding from the Taliban. He's separated from his wife and four kids. Heidi Henkel and her husband Scott are fighting for him across the globe. They said time is running out.
Former Captain Scott Henkel was deployed to one of the most dangerous provinces in Afghanistan in 2006 for the U.S. Army. He served in the 82nd Airborne and U.S. Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command. His mission for nearly a year was focused on nation building, such as building roads and building schools for girls.
Now back home in Broomfield with his family, Scott Henkel's latest mission is a matter of life and death.
"If I could I would fly into Kabul myself, I would suit up for one more time and get him and personally escort him and his family but I can’t do that," he said.
The couple is feeling helpless as they try to get Kevin and his family out of Afghanistan.
"Working with me was an insult to Islam, to work for an infidel," said Scott Henkel. "The only recourse is punishable by death. Sadly, that sin passes on to his family as well."
All of Kevin's children are under the age of 10. His wife and kids are not with him right now because it is too dangerous.
"Oftentimes they have to split up because he does not want his family to get into the same situation if he is found by the Taliban," said Heidi Henkel.
If the Taliban catch Kevin's wife, Scott Henkel said she would most likely be brought in as a sex slave. He said her daughters would be allowed to stay with her until they are 12 years old and then they would be married off.
"His son most likely, if not executed, will be conscripted into the Taliban into their forces," said Scott Henkel.
The Broomfield couple is desperately trying to get his visa approved. It is something Kevin has been working on for 10 years.
"There is something wrong with the system and we would not have this many interpreters over there if our system was working more efficiently," said Heidi Henkel.
The couple has been getting help from Congressman Joe Neguse D-Boulder) to elevate the visa request. As of Saturday, Kevin was still waiting for approval. Right now, the couple said Kevin is waiting on administrative approval. They worry Kevin and his family are running out of time to get out of Afghanistan.
"Their voice matters," said Scott Henkel. "This matters to everyone and it should matter to every American. Our country's honor is at stake."
Scott Henkel was able to safely come home to his family. Now the couple wants to give back to a man who made that possible.
"He was my lifeline," he said. "I would have been useless and dead."
The couple is hoping Kevin and his family can move to Colorado. Even if his visa is approved, Kevin would still need to sprint with his wife and kids to the airport, which is an incredibly dangerous task right now.
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