Ajmal Faquiri

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Success Stories

Ajmal translates for US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on a trip to Kabul in 2010



Ajmal Faquiri was the translator for then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and other VIPs during their visits to Afghanistan. When he wasn’t working directly for high ranking U.S. officials, Ajmal was putting his life on the line assisting American Special Forces. His vital assistance to U.S. forces put him squarely in the crosshairs of the Taliban, who charged him with collaborating with the enemy and marked him, his wife, and his two children for execution.

After waiting four years under constant threat, his Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) was finally approved and his family made a harrowing escape to America. They were sent to San Francisco, but there was no one to meet them at the airport. With nothing more than the clothes on their backs and four small carry-on suitcases, Ajmal and his family were told that they couldn’t stay at the airport. After living homeless for days and begging on the streets for money and food, a stranger offered Ajmal his phone to call back to Afghanistan to see if anyone knew someone who could help him in America. He was put in touch with another translator who had been assisted by No One Left Behind. The next day Ajmal and his family were on a plane to Washington DC, where they were properly resettled in Northern Virginia by No One Left Behind.

Included in the assistance provide by No One Left Behind was a modest used car. Ajmal used that car to start working providing delivery services. After a few months he was able to establish a credit history in America and get a loan for a nicer car that enabled him to become a Lyft driver to fully support his family.

In the summer of 2015, Ajmal was able to find a stable well-paying job at a boutique furniture store. He still drives for Lyft on the side, but his main focus in his free time is taking classes toward earning an undergraduate degree. He also mentors other Afghan interpreters as they adjust to America and rents a U-Haul truck every Saturday to pickup and deliver furniture donated to No One Left Behind clients.

Ajmal delivering furniture to a group of newly arrived Afghan and Iraqi translators and their families as part of No One Left Behind’s Operation Welcome Home, September 2014