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Interpreters and their families, especially those who live in Taliban strongholds in the south and east of the country, have been threatened, attacked and even killed.
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Afghan Civilians Worry About
Taliban After 2014 US Withdrawal

The Washington Times
Afghan civilians who have helped coalition troops in the US-led mission now fear the Taliban will kill them after Western forces leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

"In Afghanistan, if you work with foreigners -- not just Americans -- they call you an infidel or a spy," an Afghan man who has worked as an interpreter for US troops said of the Taliban.

"Once the Taliban find out that you're working for the US Army, you're done for, and so is your family," he said in a phone interview from Kabul. Like most other interpreters interviewed for this article, he asked that his name not be used out of fear for his and his family's lives.

When his older brother, who also works as an interpreter for US troops, received death threats, his boss gave him two options: He could either quit his job, or take $400 and buy an AK-47 assault rifle for his protection.

Since the October 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, the Western coalition has employed thousands of Afghans, most of them as interpreters, who have accompanied troops to the front lines of the war.

While the personal risks are daunting, coalition jobs mean good money for Afghans desperate for work in a feeble economy.

"For interpreters, it's a choice between money and security," said a second Afghan man who recently moved to Virginia with his wife, a US citizen, but who still has family in Afghanistan.

He said he was motivated to earn enough money to pay his way through college. He worked for a year as an interpreter translating between the local languages, Dari and Pashto, and English as he accompanied US troops on dangerous missions to Helmand and Kandahar provinces in the south as well as to the capital, Kabul.

"If someone wants to kidnap you, you are not safe even in the middle of Kabul," he said. "You may be safe when you're on the [military] base, but you are always worrying about your family," which often lives hundreds of miles away.

Interpreters and their families, especially those who live in Taliban strongholds in the south and east of the country, have been threatened, attacked and even killed.


Editor's Note: But a campaign promise focused on gleaning votes is a campaign promise based on the "right thing to do," right?

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