A decorated Afghani interpreter who served alongside New Zealand troops on the front line is in a coma in an Afghan hospital after being seriously injured in a car crash.
Hamilton-based Abdul Azim Kazimi flew to Bamiyan province in June for an arranged marriage with a 16-year-old girl he had known since childhood.
The 27-year-old was awarded the New Zealand General Service Medal and Operational Service Medal in 2016 for his work as interpreters with Kiwi troops and has been living here for several years.
He was helping his now 17-year-old wife with an application to join him in New Zealand when he was badly hurt in a hit and run on November 11. He was rushed to hospital where he has been in a coma for the past two weeks. It's understood the application is still under consideration.
Kazimi's family say Afghan doctors aren't equipped to operate on his serious brain injuries and he needs to be airlifted to India or New Zealand to receive adequate treatment.
They have appealed to the New Zealand Government and through a GoFundMe page for help raising the tens of thousands of dollars needed to fly him out of the country.
The family are upset the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade are not helping to get him back to New Zealand.
A MFAT spokesman said the ministry had been in contact with Azim's family in New Zealand and told them it "cannot provide assistance to foreign nationals in their own countries".
Kazimi's brother Diamond Kazimi, who also received awards for his work as an interpreter, said his family was becomingly increasingly desperate and upset.
"We've seen horrible things in our lives," he said.
"I have seen a couple of my friends pass away in explosions from suicide attacks – they were New Zealand soldiers."
The brothers were allowed to move to New Zealand for their safety and now live here with another brother and their parents. Three other family members remain in Afghanistan.
He said Kazimi had known his new wife "when they were both kids" and only formed a relationship in April last year as per Afghan cultural traditions.
Diamond said the family had appealed with MFAT to change its decision about helping them.
"We told them he worked for the army, his permanent home is New Zealand. Just because he doesn't have a citizenship shouldn't mean you can't help him."
A government spokesperson told the Herald New Zealand "is grateful for the translation support that Mr Kazimi provided to the NZDF".
"In recognition of that support we granted the Afghani interpreters residence in NZ, something no other western country did.
"We have sympathy for his situation. But the travel advice to New Zealanders travelling to Afghanistan is explicit, do not go. This is both because it is a dangerous war zone and because there is no support available on the ground."
While the car crash is still under investigation, Diamond believes it could be linked to Kazimi's previous work as an interpreter.
"We think it was related to insurgents - a hit and run," he said.
"But at the moment we don't worry about that, we just want to make sure he recovers."
Raza Khadim, another former Afghan interpreter now living in Hamilton, said the local Afghani community had been doing its best to support and donate small amounts to the Kazimi family.
"We are here for them - anytime, anything they need," he said.