Once an Afghan interpreter, now an adopted Aussie Anzac Day: Now a proud Aussie, Sameer Ahmed is looking forward to commemorating Anzac Day after serving as an interpreter with Australian troops in Afghanistan. Photo: Nathan Hondros.
Anzac Day: Now a proud Aussie working at Look Smart Alterations in Mandurah, Sameer Ahmed is looking forward to commemorating Anzac Day after serving as an interpreter with Australian troops in Afghanistan. Photo: Nathan Hondros.
Diggers based in Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan, were Sameer Ahmed was based. Photo: SMH/Alex Ellinghausen
facebookSHAREtwitterTWEETemailwhatsappHe would be a familiar face to many in Mandurah and Halls Head, but few would know that Sameer Ahmed spent years in Afghanistandoing one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.
Now an Australian permanent resident, Mr Ahmed was an interpreter for Australian and coalition forces on the front line of the war on terror, putting his life on the line to support the fight against the Taliban in the years after the September 11, 2001attacks on the United States.
The28-year-old hopes to soon be an Australian citizen and he credits his time serving with Australians for the love he has found for his adopted country.
Working from the military base in Tarin Kowt, Mr Ahmed grew to know Australians and the Australian sense of humour, even though the work was difficult.
He said there was a big cultural difference between himself and the Australians at first, but they soon made him feel comfortable.
“I used to work with them and stood side by side with them every day in the base, so it’s easy for me to live here now,” he said.
“It was dangerous, yes, even inside the base in Tarin Kowt we’d get rockets coming from the Taliban insurgents.
Sameer Ahmed An Australian soldier meets Afghan children outside the base in Tarin Kowt, where Mr Ahmed was based. Photo: SMH/Alex Ellinghausen
Mr Ahmed said he still worried about his extended family in Afghanistan.
“It was a very hard life, my concern is still thinking about my parents, my families, my youngest brothers, my sisters and mother, I’m concerned about them still,” he said.
“It’s very hard to live there.”
Now working at Look Smart Alterations in both Mandurah Forum and Halls Head Central, Mr Ahmed was keenly anticipatingAnzac Day.
He rememberedthe troops he served beside.
Canning MP Andrew Hastie was one of the Australians who served in Afghanistan near where Mr Ahmed worked as an interpreter.
“Sameer served with Aussie troops in Afghanistan as an interpreter in Tarin Kowt and the Chora Valley,” Mr Hastie wrote in a Facebook post.
“Our government acknowledged his service with permanent residency. Sameer and his wife look forward to becoming Aussie citizens in coming years.”