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2.2. Individuals who have worked for foreign military troops or perceived as supporting them

Last update: November 2021

This profile refers to individuals who are associated with the foreign troops which were present in Afghanistan, such as interpreters, security guards, civilian contractors, administrators and logistics personnel.

COI summary

Over the past years, personnel working for foreign military troops, in particular interpreters, were seen as a top priority target by the Taliban. Article 11 of Taliban’s Layeha (code of conduct) orders the execution of individuals working for Kofaar (foreign infidels), including Tarjoman (interpreters). They have also publicly defined them as criminals who actively participate in the killing of Afghan population and have stated that they shall be excluded from the Afghan society. Members of forces collaborating with foreign troops, contractors and ‘spies’ were seen by anti-government groups as responsible for killing Afghan civilians and were considered targets. Individuals not on the payroll of the foreign forces but doing general maintenance jobs, have not been as systematically targeted, although attacks occurred [Anti-government elements,; Conflict targeting, 1.2.3].

Before the Taliban’s takeover, there were reports on interpreters or former interpreters being subjected to death threats and violent attacks. There have also been few reports on such attacks in the last two weeks of August. Relatives of individuals who worked with foreign troops also faced threats, including a report of a ‘death sentence’ for a translator’s brother who was accused of ‘helping the Americans’ and of providing security to his interpreting brother. Thousands of interpreters and former interpreters who worked for international and US forces have applied for special visa arrangements to leave the country [Security September 2021, 1.1.4].

During their first press conference after the takeover of control, which took place on 17 August 2021, the Taliban announced a general amnesty, saying that they have pardoned ‘all of those who had fought against us’ [Security September 2021, 1.1.2].

A source has reported that the Taliban rounded up Afghans on a blacklist and targeted people with suspected links to the previous administration or US-led forces. House-to-house searches to find blacklisted individuals were also reported in at least four provincial cities. The Taliban are also said to visit local mosques and police offices to receive information on certain individuals [Security September 2021, 1.1.4].

Risk analysis

The acts to which individuals under this profile could be exposed are of such severe nature that they would amount to persecution (e.g. killing).

There is limited and conflicting information concerning the policies and strategy the Taliban intend to pursue with regard to individuals who have worked with foreign military troops. However, based on information regarding past persecution and indications of continuing targeting by the Taliban, it is found that individuals under this profile would in general have a well-founded fear of persecution.

Nexus to a reason for persecution

Available information indicates that persecution of this profile is highly likely to be for reasons of (imputed) political opinion.

   Exclusion considerations could be relevant to this profile (see the chapter 6. Exclusion).