Abdul’s Story

Safe in Canada: Teenage interpreter survives Taliban, now wants to rescue others

Abdul with his family safe in Canada.

“ I am very thankful to Canada and its response to the situation in Afghanistan and Canada is always in the front for assistance to the humanity. And for Veterans Transition Network a whole world full of thanks and best wishes.”

Abdul Rahim Rahimi was only 18 years old when he signed on to be an interpreter with the Canadian Armed Forces in Kandahar. From 2008-2010, he accompanied CAF soldiers on missions “all the time”, their LAV once hitting an IED that thankfully all survived. “It was our luck that we survived and didn’t have loss of life. It was very dangerous out there.”

But IEDs weren’t the only danger for Abdul, known as “Rahim” to CAF. The Taliban found out he was working with the Canadian military and paid a visit to his father. They told his father to make Abdul quit but Abdul refused as a young man needing the money.

Six years later, in 2016, the Taliban stabbed his father in the back. “You didn’t make him stop so you are guilty,” they said. Two years later, Abdul’s father died.

Canada welcomed Abdul and eight family members to Vancouver on February 7, 2022. They are safe and Abdul is thankful to Canada for their new beginning. But he knows that Taliban members have long memories and target all family members of “traitors” who helped Western forces.

As a teenager, Abdul provided language translation for a Canadian Colonel, Captain, Major and Team Commander. Like all interpreters, he also provided cultural knowledge. He wants Canada to know that Taliban culture includes reprisals for all connected to interpreters.

Because of Abdul’s work with Canada, he worries about others he left behind who are still in danger, including two families and two friends. They have all fled to a neighbouring country. VTN is helping with their immigration paperwork and providing counselling support. 

Families waiting in Pakistan that Abdul is helping: