The attention of the nation has turned toward Iowa Falls in recent weeks as local resident Zalmay Niazy’s story has been shared far and wide in newspapers, on TV shows and over the internet.
It’s doubtful anyone reading this column needs me to repeat Niazy’s story, but here goes: He was born in Afghanistan, and at age 19 became an interpreter for U.S. troops who were there as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. He risked his life, suffered numerous injuries, and withstood pressure from his family and from the Taliban to quit his job. Despite that, he continued, convinced that the work Americans were doing in his home country was making it a better and safer place. But the Taliban are persistent, and eventually their threats forced him to abandon his home. He found himself in Iowa Falls, living with a cousin who’d also fled Afghanistan for the U.S. because of his work as an interpreter.