Friday, November 26, 2010

Military recruiting Afghan translators

With combat operations winding down in Iraq, the military is looking towards Afghanistan more. The Army is looking to recruit more soldiers who speak on of the languages most spoken in Afghanistan--Dari, Pashto or Farsi. But the task of getting these soldiers is proving difficult. Obviuosly, there has to be a little apprehension from young men who would have such second language.

Military recruiters are going to places where these languages might be spoken. Places like Little Persia in Los Angeles. Anywhere that recruiters think either Afghans or Iranians may hang out.

The potential number if qualified people is significantly lower. Arabic is spoken by a much larger population. The population in the United States of immigrant Iranians and Afghans is much smaller. Then you must find young people willing and able to serve.

The Army has set a goal of 250 new recruits across the nation. But they have only managed to get only a handful.

This shortage comes at a bad time. The military is looking to the day when they will end combat operations. The need for translators and interpreters now is at its greatest. It is crucial to be able to work with local Afghan officials and people in the community.

The lack of translators can put soldiers at risk in situations where complete and clear communication is needed. Misunderstandings can lead to tragedies on both sides.

The risk for soldiers recruited for this duty is great as well. You can imagine how some Afghan locals may feel looking at a soldier that appears to be Afghan wearing a US Army unform. The Army is not putting their names on uniforms for this reason. Because of the value of these soldiers, they are shipped overseas for duty ASAP. Females and others stay in the United States to train others.

One reward for these soldiers is getting citizenship quicker than usual. They may get a signing bonus as well. Still, because of the history, many Afghans think it is kind of a betrayal.

Afghans need to know that the United States only wants good things for the Afghan people. We salute the men and women who have such skills and volunteer to work for the common good.

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