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

Last update: April 2022

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, 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]. Despite this amnesty, retaliatory acts by Taliban members against persons under this profile were reported [Country Focus 2022, 2.5].

A source has reported that the Taliban in the period following their takeover 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. The Taliban are also said to visit local mosques and police offices to receive information on certain individuals [Security September 2021, 1.1.4]. It is reported that individuals who were working for foreign military troops, e.g. interpreters, are living in hiding and are being searched for. The Taliban also have reportedly summoned some interpreters to appear in court, with their families being informed that they might be held responsible if the interpreters failed to appear in court. Executions of persons under this profile have been reported [Country Focus 2022, 2.5].

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).

Based on information regarding past persecution and reports of continuing targeting by the Taliban, it is found that interpreters would in general have a well-founded fear of persecution.

There is limited information concerning the Taliban policies with regard to other individuals who have worked with foreign military troops. However, taking into account the negative perception of the Taliban against them and previous patterns of persecution, other persons with suspected links with foreign forces would be likely to have a well-founded fear of persecution.

Family members of some individuals under this profile could also be at risk of treatment that would amount to 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).