Former Afghan interpreters now resettled in New Zealand hope the latest focus on our Defence Force’s role in Afghanistan might help their plight.
A number have sought unsuccessfully to have refugee status granted to family members, who they say are being threatened by the Taliban.
For one interpreter, Parwiz Hakimi, those threats became reality last weekend.
His extended family are suffering in Afghanistan and for the past year he’s been trying to get refugee status for his brother’s family and his parents.
He says they’ve been threatened by the Taliban because of his role as an interpreter for the New Zealand Defence Force.
Four days ago a Taliban improvised explosive device (IED) planted outside Mr Parwiz’s brother’s home killed his nephew and injured another.
“They just went outside to play and next minute they heard a big bang, my brother went out and saw his son was split into pieces,” he said.
Newshub has independently verified an investigation into the bombing.
Omeran was just eight years old. He was the same age as his cousin, Mr Parwiz’s daughter Eshwa, and the two had been very close.
“It’s quite hard seeing family members, innocent kids who haven’t done anything wrong getting killed because of what I’ve done,” Mr Parwiz said.
Mr Parwiz was a high-profile interpreter with the NZDF in Bamyan for eight years and like other interpreters, was rewarded with resettlement – but only for himself, his wife and children.
“We are loving the peaceful life in New Zealand, but it’s really stressful seeing what’s happening back there, waiting for a call from someone to tell us what has happened, it’s quite hard,” he said.
Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse says the interpreters can apply to have reunification with family members under the current scheme, but that could take five years.
Mr Parwiz fears by then, it may be too late.