Former interpreter for US forces in Afghanistan who escaped Taliban shot dead in Washington DC

Nasrat Ahmad Ya, who leaves behind a family of four, was fatally shot while finishing a late-night Lyft shift

Alex Woodward
Friday 07 July 2023 18:31 BST
'It's unfathomable': Lyft driver killed in DC served 20 years as Army interpreter in Afghanistan, friend says

A former Afghan interpreter and father of four was fatally shot in Washington DC while finishing a late shift as a Lyft driver in the city.

Nasrat Ahmad Yar, 31, worked alongside US Special Forces in Afghanistan for a decade before immigrating to the US with his family in 2021 after the government’s fall to the Taliban.

Washington DC Metro Police Department officers discovered Yar with a gunshot wound inside his car shortly after midnight on 2 July. He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital, according to police.

Yar was the sole provider for his wife and four children, and he was sending money to family in Afghanistan with work as a tow-truck driver and as a driver with the ride-hailing app.

“He was so happy he got a new car because he could take care of his family,” his friend Rahim Amini told WUSA9. “His wife asked him to stay home but he said, ‘I have to pay rent. I don’t have that much money. I have to work.’”

Fundraisers on GoFundMe and Facebook are supporting his widow and their children.

“What we are trying to do is to see what we can do for the family to help and support them” and “make sure that they feel that we stand behind them as a community,” Tariq Ahmadzai of Help Build Tomorrow, which offers assistance for the Afghan community, told NBC Washington.

The GoFundMe campaign has raised more than $137,000, as of 7 July.

“Our hearts are with Mr Nasrat’s loved ones as they confront this unspeakable tragedy,” according to a statement from Lyft. “We have reached out to his family to offer our support and are in contact with law enforcement to assist with their investigation.”

Yar and his family first moved to Philadelphia before relocating to Alexandria, Virginia, according to Jeramie Malone, who helped relocate the family to the US through a volunteer organization and is now coordinating the GoFundMe following his death.

“He came to America to be safe, but his dream was really for his kids,” Malone told NBC Washington. “He always said he wanted them to have a good education. He wanted them to have opportunities.”

If Yar had remained in Afghanistan, he would “most certainly” be a “marked man” by the Taliban, Retired Lt Colonel Matthew Butler told WUSA9.

Mr Butler, who was with the US Army Special Forces, worked closely with Yar in Camp Vance of the Bagram Airfield for two of his deployments, he told the network.

“You just don’t have words to describe how you feel about someone who had given so much to his country, not as a citizen, but then comes here and experiences some of the worst behavior our country has to offer,” he said. “The irony is really thick here.”

Surveillance footage released by police shows four people running from the scene. The Metropolitan Police Department is offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to an arrest.

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