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Senin, 07 Juni 2021

Afghan translators for Australian diggers now targets of Taliban threats - ABC News

Afghan translators employed by Australian troops have been placed on a Taliban kill list for working alongside "infidel enemies" over the past 20 years.

The shock development has re-ignited calls for the Australian government to fast-track protection visas for about 300 interpreters who now fear for their lives.  

In one instance, an Afghan father who worked with Australian Defence Force soldiers from 2010 was tracked to his home by a Taliban operative.

Earlier this month, a threatening letter signed by a Taliban "guerilla operations" commander named Spin Talib, was taped to the front door of the translator's home after his address was identified by the "Mujahedeen", or jihadist fighters.

The letter amounts to a Taliban death sentence on the translator who has already been an assassination target.

"Await your death very soon."

The letter reveals that the Taliban has received reports of the translator's work "for a long time with infidel enemies of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, as an interpreter and a slave".

"We have tried to kill you by hitting you with a vehicle, but unfortunately you did not die, only your leg was broken," it says.

The attempted murder is in reference to a November 2016 incident when a Taliban insurgent drove a car into the man as he was shopping.

"My leg is broken [in] three places, when I open my eyes, I was in hospital," the interpreter said in a video recorded from his hospital bed at the time. 

A man with a bandage on his entire leg lying in a bed
The man was run over by the Taliban in an attempt to kill him.(

Supplied

)

A copy of the June letter, obtained by the ABC, said the Taliban's Department of Intelligence and Military Council ordered Commander Spin Talib to kill the translator.

"We have reports that you and other interpreters are in contact with infidel friends, to get you out of Afghanistan and get you a visa," the letter signed by Spin Talib reads.

"Therefore you will not be forgiven by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, neither will we accept any other excuse."

University of Western Australia adjunct Professor Amin Saikal, who has written extensively on Afghanistan, said the letter appears legitimate.

The ABC has chosen not to reveal the translator's identity, or where he was living, but retired Australian Army officer Jason Scanes who worked with him said his former colleague was now in hiding.

"He's extremely concerned about this situation, obviously he's had to move himself and his young family out of his house – they are moving around trying to find secure locations," the Afghanistan veteran and former Queensland state Labor candidate said. 

"He's concerned for himself, but he's also very concerned for his young family."

Translator awaiting fresh decision on visa application

In 2013 the translator applied for an Australian humanitarian visa, which was rejected almost five years later on character grounds by then-Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton.

That decision was overturned in May last year by the full bench of the Federal Court which found Mr Dutton had not sufficiently weighed up the translator's claim that his wife and child would be killed by the Taliban. 

"Had the Minister concluded that the risk that the wife and child would be murdered by jihadists was outweighed by the risk that the appellant might cause harm to the Australian community because of sympathetic links to the same jihadists, the Minister could reasonably be expected to have said so," the justices concluded.

"It is apparent that there was no meaningful engagement given to the assertions made by the declarants concerning the appellant's family.

Three men in army fatigues standing together, the middle has his face blurred completely
The Taliban are threatening to kill translators who helped Australian soldiers.(

Supplied

)

Lawyers for the Afghan father resubmitted another visa application in September, seven years after his first attempt, but a decision is yet to be made.

Now-Defence Minister, Peter Dutton said through a spokeswoman "the Australian government recognises the important service of Afghan employees, including interpreters, to our contribution in Afghanistan". 

"We are committed to the safety of all personnel working for the Australian government in Afghanistan."

The spokeswoman added that locally engaged Afghan employees who are at risk of harm due to their employment were eligible for resettlement.

"They can apply for humanitarian visas to Australia and are given the highest visa processing priority."

A group of lawyers and other migration experts led by veteran Glenn Kolomeitz is now offering to help the government process paperwork for the former interpreters once they are safely evacuated from Afghanistan.

"If they can get them to possibly Kabul but more likely the United Arab Emirates, we can have a team over there to start acting, representing these people, processing their paperwork," he said.

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https://news.google.com/__i/rss/rd/articles/CBMiamh0dHBzOi8vd3d3LmFiYy5uZXQuYXUvbmV3cy8yMDIxLTA2LTA4L2F1c3RyYWxpYW4tc29sZGllcnMtYWZnaGFuLXRyYW5zbGF0b3JzLXRocmVhdGVuZWQtdGFsaWJhbi8xMDAxOTY2MTDSAShodHRwczovL2FtcC5hYmMubmV0LmF1L2FydGljbGUvMTAwMTk2NjEw?oc=5

2021-06-07 18:56:00Z
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