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NEWS | Sept. 3, 2021

Afghan American Army Soldier supports Afghan evacuees

By Staff Sgt. Marc Heaton, Task Force Spartan

KUWAIT - Spc. Toraj Rozbeh, an information operations specialist deployed to Kuwait with the Virginia Army National Guard’s 29th Infantry Division, Task Force Spartan, U.S. Army Central, is maximizing his ethnicity as an Afghan American to help build bridges during Operation Allies Welcome.

Rozbeh was born and raised in Kabul, Afghanistan, but immigrated with his family to the United States via the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) process in 2015.

“My dad was a staff employee at the U.S. embassy in Kabul. That’s how we were able to get the visas and come to the United States,” said Rozbeh.

After living in the United States for two years, he enlisted in the Army National Guard in 2017 as an automated logistics specialist. He deployed to Afghanistan in 2020 in support of Operation Inherent Resolve and now to Kuwait for Operation Spartan Shield and Operation Allies Welcome.

Growing up in Afghanistan, U.S. service members were a common sight for Rozbeh.

“The image of U.S. Soldiers appealed to me so much as a kid. Seeing the convoys and Soldiers walking. … One time a Soldier gave me a candy bar. Seeing those images, I knew that when I got to the United States, I wanted to join the military,” he said.

He is now using his experience to assist fellow Afghans.

“Given my background and expertise … knowing the culture and speaking the language, both Dari and Pashto, it gives me a perspective to be an asset and help in this mission,” said Rozbeh.

He is serving as an interpreter and cultural adviser to his command team, working with communication efforts, and helping civil affairs teams distribute food and supplies to evacuees housed temporarily in Kuwait.

He said Afghan evacuees going through the SIV process are experiencing very different circumstances than he did when he immigrated to the United States.

“The people here are going through a similar process, but at a much faster pace. Mine was a bit slower, and it wasn’t during a crisis,” said Rozbeh.

He said he is dedicated to doing everything he can to help Afghan evacuees have the chance at a safer, more stable life.

“These people are leaving their homes and coming here for a better life. I want to do my job the best I can to provide them the best support we can. There are a lot of kids … desperate to go to the United States because it’s the American dream and the freedom that everybody is looking for,” Rozbeh said.