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Monday Jun 07 2021
By
AFP

Taliban says Afghan interpreters have nothing to fear if they are remorseful

By
AFP
In this file photo taken on May 28, 2021 Afghan former interpreters for the French forces gather during a demonstration at Shahr-e Naw Park in Kabul. Afghan translators with NATO and US forces fear regular threats and deadly violence against both them and their families will only increase ahead of a looming deadline for the alliance´s planned withdrawal. Photo: AFP

  • Afghan Taliban says interpreters should show remorse for their past actions.
  • Over the past two decades, dozens of Afghan translators have been killed and tortured in targeted assaults by the Taliban.
  • Last week the Taliban sought to calm foreign embassies after the Australian mission in Kabul closed its doors.


KABUL: The Afghan Taliban assured the translators that worked with the foreign forces in Afghanistan that they have nothing to fear for the work they did for the international troops only if they "show remorse". 

Thousands of Afghans have received visas to live abroad after serving alongside US and NATO troops — particularly as interpreters — but hundreds more are scrambling to leave before US President Joe Biden's September 11 withdrawal deadline.

In recent weeks many interpreters have demonstrated in Kabul, demanding foreign forces and embassies that they worked with help them relocate.

"They shall not be in any danger on our part," the Taliban said in a statement.

Read more: Afghan Taliban warn neighbouring countries against allowing use of soil for US bases

"The Islamic Emirate would like to inform all the above people that they should show remorse for their past actions and must not engage in such activities in the future that amount to treason against Islam and the country."

While Afghans were viewed as foes when they worked with foreign forces, they will not face any issues "when they abandon enemy ranks", they added.

"Hence they should not remain fearful."

Over the past two decades, dozens of Afghan translators have been killed and tortured in targeted assaults by the Taliban.

Read more: Afghan Taliban declares three-day ceasefire for Eid celebration 

Afghan interpreter Mohammad Shoaib Walizada, who worked with the US army, dismissed the Taliban's assurance.

"I don't believe the Taliban... They are targeting journalists and media workers, why would they spare us?" Walizada told AFP on Monday.

"They never stick to their word or promise. They will take their revenge because they consider us agents or spies."

"They are tracking us," Omid Mahmoodi, an interpreter who worked with US forces between 2018 and 2020, told AFP last week.

"The Taliban will not pardon us. They will kill us and they will behead us."

Another interpreter Omar, who worked with the US embassy for about 10 years, feared that without leaving the country he would not evade the Taliban for long.

Read more: Is Afghanistan preparing for war instead of peace?

"I regret working for the US. It was the biggest mistake of my life," said Omar, who asked AFP not to use his full name.

"My own uncle and cousins call me an agent of America."

Last week the Taliban sought to calm foreign embassies after the Australian mission in Kabul closed its doors.

The group said they would provide a "safe environment" for these missions to work even after foreign forces leave the country.