Afghan interpreters ask Norway for protection

Afghan interpreters ask Norway for protection
Defence Minister Espen Barth Eide visited Camp Maimanah in Faryab last week (Photo: Lise Åserud/NTB Scanpix)
Fearing they will be targeted once NATO troops pull out, Afghan interpreters who have worked closely with Norway’s armed forces have appealed to Oslo to grant them asylum.

More than 20 Afghan interpreters have risked their lives working with the Norwegian forces, TV 2 reports, with many of them now looking to Norway for help.

“When NATO pulls out and we’re alone again, nobody will protect us,” said 26-year-old interpreter Qadir Sadiq.

According to Colonel Odd Andreas Søbstad, the local language experts have had access to sensitive and classified information while working with NATO forces.  

“Consequently, they could come under major pressure from insurgents,” he told TV 2.

But Defence Minister Espen Barth Eide said interpreters’ access to classified data did not automatically qualify them for protection.

“They do not receive any special treatment unless they have reason to apply on grounds of an individual need for protection, if this is something they can document,” said Eide.  

Although Norwegian troops are set to leave the northern Faryab Province in the coming weeks, the interpreters who have sought asylum are still awaiting a response from the Norwegian justice department.

The ministry told TV 2 it was currently processing the applications.

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