After giving years of service to Western powers, the interpreters are now at the mercy of the Taliban
Translated by Thomas Ansell
With the shockingly quick fall of the Afghan army, and the complete failure of the US-led coalition’s forces to create anything like a resilient society in Afghanistan, the Taliban is now in charge of the country’s levers of power. This is a disaster for large numbers of Afghan people, but none more so than the many that bought in to the ‘mission’ of the coalition and lent their skills as translators.
Despite Taliban pledges, it is likely that those who helped coalition forces will be persecuted for their former work, and across the West there are now calls for governments to allow interpreters to claim asylum as quickly as possible. As reported by the NOS.
The outgoing (now seemingly eternal) Rutte government in the Netherlands is one country to have loosened its requirements for interpreters; allowing those who have worked with the coalition forces to come to the Netherlands with ID or a temporary travel document. The Dutch Ministry of Defence will also confirm whether the interpreters had worked on behalf of Dutch forces in Afghanistan.
The Dutch cabinet has also said that it will evacuate staff at the Dutch embassy in Kabul, though in its letter to the Tweede Kamer it made no mention of Afghan citizens that had worked for organisations such as NATO, the EU, and international aid organisations.
Evacuations are being complicated by the fact that the US Army is in charge of Kabul Airport, and have been seemingly prioritizing US citizens and evacuation flights. Following yesterday’s images of desperate Afghans clinging on to US Army planes, the airport is allegedly today now operating more normally.