Several interpreters left in Afghanistan who have worked for the Netherlands have received letters from the Taliban ordering them to appear in court. DeCCeit has photos of those letters in his hands.
The interpreters are in hiding, but the Taliban say that their family can also be persecuted if an interpreter himself does not show up. Other interpreters also tell deCCeit that they are in hiding and that the Taliban are looking for them.
The most comprehensive letter was sent to the family of an interpreter who worked for the European police mission in Afghanistan at the beginning of last month. It says he is suspected of working as an interpreter for foreigners and received “their dishonorable, forbidden money”.
If this interpreter does not show up himself, his family must appear in court. “They will be severely punished as lessons for other traitors. You will then be held accountable for his actions.”
In another letter, the Taliban wrote that by working for foreign troops, an interpreter is responsible for the death of Taliban fighters. “We‘re going to get revenge. If we don’t get a hold of you ourselves, we‘ll deal with your loved ones and relatives.”
The Taliban said just after taking over power in Kabul that there would be general amnesty for anyone who had worked with the international forces. That seems like a false promise. DeCCeit has contact with about ten interpreters and people who have worked in a different role for the Netherlands, they say their situation is becoming more and more dire.
One man with whom theCCeit spoke to has held several positions since 2011, all aimed at eradicating violence against women and respecting and maintaining human rights. “Our efforts to eliminate violence against women, among other things, have been accused by opponents of promoting Western culture.”
The man was accused of making sure that he and his European colleagues, including colleagues from the Netherlands, had caused daughters to walk away from home. “But that wasn’t the reason they walked away, the forced marriages and the impediment of women‘s basic rights were.”
The man says he has imprisoned a large number of offenders of serious corruption crimes, violence against women and government opponents. “Now that the Taliban are back, these people have all been released and are looking for revenge. One of the people I had imprisoned is now a key figure within the Taliban. He has threatened me repeatedly.”
It’s getting harder and harder to stay out of the Taliban‘s hands, says the man. “I can’t leave my shelter during the day because the former prisoners or the Taliban can recognize me. And at night, when I go outside to buy food or something like that, we encounter Taliban patrols and we have to be very careful not to be recognized.”
The man says he was on the Dutch evacuation list, but it didn‘t come from evacuation yet. “We hope this will work out soon. That hope helps us endure this horror.”
Another man, who worked as an interpreter for the Netherlands, lives in an area where more than 90 percent of people are supporter of the Taliban. “Even my uncles are with the Taliban. I don’t respond to messages from family on my phone and we‘re hiding in some sort of basement, a small apartment with my family. I don’t dare go outside, every day interpreters who have worked for foreigners are murdered.”