NEWS | Sept. 10, 2021

Afghan-American 29ID Soldier supports Afghanistan evacuation efforts

By Staff Sgt. Marc Heaton | 29th Infantry Division

U.S. Army Soldiers are embracing opportunities to support Afghanistan evacuation efforts in every way possible. Spc. Toraj Rozbeh, an Information Operations Specialist currently deployed to Kuwait with the Army National Guard’s 29th Infantry Division, Task Force Spartan, U.S. Army Central, is sharing and maximizing his ethnicity as an Afghan American to assist with building bridges and easing the processes throughout Operation Allies Refuge efforts.

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 U.S. for two years, he enlisted in the Army National Guard in 2017 as an Automated Logistics Specialist and has since deployed once to Afghanistan in 2020 in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, and now to Kuwait in support of Operation Spartan Shield and Operation Allies Refuge.

U.S. servicemembers were a common sight for Rozbeh, growing up in Afghanistan.

“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,” said Rozbeh.

He is now using his background and unique experience to assist his 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 able to assist in a multitude of ways; including serving as an interpreter and cultural advisor to his command team, working with communications efforts, and assisting the Civil Affairs teams with things such as distributing food and supplies to the evacuees.

He said that his experience immigrating to the U.S. through the SIV process was similar in some ways, but that the people coming through now are having to go through that process under much different circumstances.

“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.

Like every U.S. Servicemember assisting with Operation Allies Refuge, 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,” added Rozbeh.

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