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Afghan Bundeswehr aides 'must get help'

The Local · 24 Jul 2012, 11:33

Published: 24 Jul 2012 11:33 GMT+02:00

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Those who have been working for the foreign forces that make up the ISAF international mission in Afghanistan could find themselves in terrible danger once the mission ends, said Elke Hoff, a defence expert from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition partners the Free Democratic Party.

“Many of the locals who have been working for the Bundeswehr in northern Afghanistan have, due to their work, put themselves in particular danger,” she said.

“We cannot simply abandon them after the withdrawal in 2014.”

Last Sunday the bodies of five men who had been working at a NATO base 40 kilometres from Kabul were found by the road. Their hands had been tied and explosives attached to their bodies, then detonated.

Not only Taliban forces, but also many other Afghans, hate those who work for the foreigners, labelling them collaborators who are selling out their country.

Ahmad Feroz, a 21-year-old who works for the Germans as a translator, told Die Welt newspaper that his family were anxious every time he left the house.

“They are afraid that they will kill me because I work for the enemies from the west,” he said.

He is one of around 460 Afghans who work for the German military’s language service, while hundreds more locals have other jobs in and around the base as cooks, gardeners and cleaners. The Bundeswehr employs 1,561 local people while another 160 have jobs with German police training units.

When the ISAF mission ends in 2014, they lose their well-paid jobs - Feroz told Die Welt he was being paid €700 a week, which is around ten times the average Afghan wage. It is enough to take care of his parents and his three younger siblings, as well as his own studies, which he told the paper he was half a year from finishing.

But it is not only the loss of income that the Afghan workers fear – they will also become even more vulnerable to attack when the forces leave – particularly the translators and drivers who are seen and identified out and about with the foreign soldiers and police officers.

“We must finally clarify who from those Afghans affected will be exposed to particular risk, and thus should get residence permission to be in Germany,” said Hoff.

One army officer in Berlin estimated around 500 Afghans had put themselves in such danger thanks to their work with the German forces that they should be allowed to come to Germany.

But some would be offered continued work with the army and police officers who will remain as advisors in Afghanistan after 2014. Others could be offered help to enable them to remain in Afghanistan.

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They must be taken care of one way or another – otherwise, apart from any moral duty to do so, it would be even more difficult to get locals to help German forces in other countries in the future, said Hoff.

She said the US was passing laws which would grant residency for Afghans who had worked for ISAF for a number of years.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

16:13 July 24, 2012 by Englishted
The lunatics have taken over the asylum.
16:38 July 24, 2012 by HungarianAmerican1975
I would like to know the last name of this "Politician" just to see if he eats pork or is Kosher...
17:11 July 24, 2012 by michael4096
Taking advantage of a military pullout to 'deal' with collaborators or just to settle old scores is common. France at the end of WWII and Vietnam were notable but it is still happening in Iraq for example.

I understand the sentiment here.
17:37 July 24, 2012 by ChrisRea
Another proof that NATO's approach in Afghanistan might actually make the Talibans stronger, by increasing the support from the regular citizens.
20:31 July 24, 2012 by Englishted

True but then are we going to have the entire family ,freinds and anyone he or she may have known or talked to.
23:57 July 24, 2012 by GolfAlphaYankee
@Englishted :

yes ! we are talking about 500 educated and west friendly people and their families .... not that much in the grand scheme of things....
00:22 July 25, 2012 by schneebeck
"When the ISAF mission ends in 2014, they lose their well-paid jobs - Feroz told Die Welt he was being paid €700 a week, which is around ten times the average Afghan wage."

TEN times the wage of the guy next door! Maybe they can try moving to a different part of Afghanistan with that money.

Everyone is allowed to try and make as much cash as they want in life.

And if they can do that and get a free ticket to the west also, that's OK too.

And when they get there, and the government gives them more cash to support themselves for a few months (or years), that's great!
00:39 July 25, 2012 by bwjijsdtd
Seems to me that "One flew over the CooKoo's nest."
18:51 July 27, 2012 by Berliner1978
"We are talking about 500 educated and west friendly people and their families .... not that much in the grand scheme of things.... "

I'm sure no one ever realized that inviting a few Turks to work in Germany would ever amount to much either.....
20:09 July 30, 2012 by friedenstempel
I don't think that it is morally right to shield collaborators with a foreign occupational force. If they are perceived as traitors by their fellow country men they deserve to suffer the consequences. If not they are the Afghan elite to carry our torch and should not flee their country but confront the enemies we helped to keep down. When you don't burn their ships you admit the extremists have won.
16:37 December 17, 2012 by shahim
i am deeply gald to hear that there are people in germany care about the terps who are working along side with the german troops in Afghanistan, i am one of the interpreters currently working with the german troops in fram of ISAF in afghanistan, and its really difficult for me to imagine what will happen to me and my colleagues after 2014 by withdrawal of foreign troops from afghanistan . We worked apart of them we sustained the same burdian the same difficulties as the foreign troops did in afghanistan and after they left afghanistan the country will be hill for interpreters cause there is not only threat by Taliban for us even the the amount of the afghans hate those who worked with foreigners in afghanistan
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