Taliban demand ‘remorse’ from fearful Afghan interpreters

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Kabul

The Taliban said Monday that Afghans who worked with foreign forces in the past have nothing to fear once international troops leave, as long as they “show remorse”.

Thousands of Afghans have received visas to live abroad after serving alongside US and NATO troops, particularly as interpreters, but hundreds more are scrambling to leave before US President Joe Biden’s September 11 withdrawal deadline.

In recent weeks many interpreters have demonstrated in Kabul, demanding foreign forces and embassies that they worked with help them relocate. “They shall not be in any danger on our part,” the Taliban said in a statement.

“The Islamic Emirate would like to inform all the above people that they should show remorse for their past actions and must not engage in such activities in the future that amount to treason against Islam and the country.”

While Afghans were viewed as foes when they worked with foreign forces, they will not face any issues “when they abandon enemy ranks”, they added.

“Hence they should not remain fearful.” Over the past two decades, dozens of Afghan translators have been killed and tortured in targeted assaults by the Taliban.

Casualties among Afghan troops have been “shockingly high” amid a surge in attacks by Taliban militants in recent days, a senior government official said on Monday.

Fighting that is now raging in 26 of the country’s 34 provinces has killed or wounded at least 150 Afghan troops over the past 24 hours, the officials said in comments carried by Reuters news agency.

The deaths and injuries come as the Taliban, who have been waging an insurgency since being ousted as rulers in a 2001 US-led invasion, exploit the dwindling security brought about by the foreign forces’ withdrawal from the country.

The government says territorial clashes have increased as the US continues to pull out its remaining troops in an operation scheduled to be completed by September 11.

Other NATO troops, including German ones, also began officially pulling out of the country on May 1.

According to officials, Taliban insurgents have captured two more districts since the start of the withdrawal, now holding nine from the total of 388 in the country.

Late on Sunday, Taliban fighters took over the Qaisar district of northern Faryab province in an attack that killed and wounded dozens of Afghan security forces, a police official said.

Government forces were said to have retreated to a nearby hilltop from which they were still offering resistance on Monday.

The Taliban also took control of Shahrak district in western Ghor province on Sunday evening, again causing a number of casualties among Afghan troops.—Reuters