August 3, 2021

Taliban call on former Afghan interpreters to stay in country

While the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan is due to begin on July 4, the fear of a Taliban offensive is increasingly feared in the country. With, also, deep concerns about the fate of Afghan interpreters who have worked with international forces, and who fear reprisals.

The Taliban assured in a statement, Monday, June 7, that these Afghans ” born [courraient] no danger on their part ”. They call them to ” to repent “ :

“A significant number of Afghans have gone astray during the last twenty years of occupation and have worked with foreign forces as interpreters, guards or whatever (…). The Islamic Emirate wants to tell them that they should express remorse for their past actions and no longer engage in such activities in the future, which amount to a betrayal against Islam and their country. “

The United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) began the 1is May a definitive withdrawal from Afghanistan which must be completed for the twentieth anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001. But the withdrawal of American troops, present for twenty years in the country, has been quietly brought forward to July 4.

With this accelerated withdrawal of foreign troops, thousands of translators and interpreters from embassies and Western military forces are flocking to consulates hoping to obtain an immigration visa, for fear of reprisals if the Taliban returns to power in Kabul.

“We saw them as our enemies, but once they abandon the ranks of the enemy they will become ordinary Afghans again in their homeland and should not be afraid”, said the Taliban, who invite these interpreters “To return to a normal life and to serve their country”.

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Reduced number of visas to the United States

Visas for the United States have been drastically reduced in recent years, with US officials claiming some extremists masquerading as translators.

According to the US embassy in Kabul, around 18,000 Afghans are still waiting for their application to be processed, and an equivalent number of Afghan workers have already received visas in twenty years, according to a report from Brown University. The British government recently said it wanted to speed up the relocation of its Afghan staff: 1,358 Afghans have been accepted by London and more than 3,000 additional people are expected to benefit from this program.

After the withdrawal of the French army from the country at the end of 2012, a number of interpreters reported threats and continued to demand a visa for Paris, but just under half of the 770 personnel employed at the time had one. got one. In addition, at the end of May, France began granting around 100 visas to employees of the embassy and other French official services in Kabul, as well as to their relatives.

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The World with AFP