Published on Spiegel Online International, by Matthias Gebauer and Shoib Najafizada in Berlin and Mazar-e-Sharif in Afghanistan, May 18, 2012.
With the German army pulling out of Afghanistan in 2014, hundreds of Afghan workers fear they will become victims of revenge by the Taliban, who have already condemned them as traitors. German authorities are already preparing for a wave of visa applications … //
… Deadly Risk:
In Germany’s Regional Command North alone, between 1,600 and 3,000 Afghans, called local personnel in bureaucratic speak, work as interpreters, drivers and laborers. Most are full-time employees for the Bundeswehr, the Foreign Ministry or other in other German agencies, working in positions in police-training programs or on development projects, for example.
The supposed dream jobs for every Afghan, with their fixed pay and other privileges, have turned out to be a deadly risk. For months the Taliban has hounded anyone who has helped international troops with propaganda and justified any attacks on them. “As soon as the foreigners are gone, the collaborators will pay a price for their treason,” announced Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid.
Afghans aren’t the only ones busy thinking about how to protect the helpers after Germany withdraws its troops. “We cannot let those who have supported us just stand out in the rain,” a German general recently said. “The only question is, how can we help them?” He said it was clear that interpreters are especially at risk, because they are visible helpers to the Germans outside of the camps. Equipped with bulletproof vests and helmets they almost look like they are a part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
Officials within the Bundeswehr and in German ministries fear a horror scenario after the troop draw down. Taliban commanders could hunt down the former employees of ISAF troops and then publicly arrest and execute them.
German ministries active in Afghanistan are intensely searching for a solution. Since the end of March, when officials from the defense, foreign, interior and economic cooperation and development ministries held an emergency meeting, the Interior Ministry has been working on an aid plan for Afghan employees of the Germans who could be threatened.
Huge Demand: … (full text).
(The name of the Afghan interpreter has been changed at his request for fear of retribution).
Unreliable Partners? Germany’s Reputation in NATO Has Hit Rock Bottom, on Spiegel Online International, by Ulrike Demmer and Christoph Schult, May 17, 2012: Ahead of the NATO summit in Chicago, Germany’s standing in the alliance has reached a low point. The country’s abstention in the UN vote on military action in Libya has done lasting damage to its reputation. The Germans are now seen as unreliable partners who don’t know what they want …
Q. & A.: ALI SOUFAN, by Amy Davidson, May 17, 2012;