‘Abandoned’ Afghan translator killed escaping Taliban
The interpreter, known to the British soldiers he served alongside as Popal, was arrested in Iran and subsequently tortured and murdered along with four other interpreters, the Daily Mail reports. The paper says they had employed the services of people smugglers to escape the Taliban.
Popal, 26, worked for three years with British forces, acting as a liaison officer who met with Taliban officials on behalf of the British Army.
“He was caught and killed. Now, specifically, who killed him, we cannot pinpoint somebody, but as British interpreters are targets to anybody, anybody could have found out that he used to be a British interpreter and could have killed him. It could be Iranian government, Taliban, somebody,” Rafi, a former interpreter with UK forces in Afghanistan, told RT.
The families of the translators believe militants or the Iranian authorities may have killed the men.
A source, who worked with Popal and the British Army, told the paper that people working with allied forces are considered traitors.
“Anyone they find who has worked for Britain or allied forces is tortured and killed, the smugglers have told us, because they are seen as Western spies,” said the source.
“The smugglers warn us before we begin the journey that there is a good chance we will be captured and that if that happens ‘you are on your own.’
“Some Afghans who were stopped making the journey to Europe have been enrolled in the Iranian military and sent to fight in Syria. Others have been brutally questioned. If you say you have worked for the British or the Americans, then it is likely you will be killed,” they added.
Popal is believed to have been killed in Mashhad, Iran, after fleeing Kabul following death threats from the Taliban.
“The British did not believe that Popal’s life was in danger, but he believed that if he stayed in Afghanistan he would be killed,” a friend told the paper.
“He had written and telephone threats … and escaped an ambush, so he said he had no alternative but to try to reach Germany.
“It was a last resort but the decision was simple: if he stayed, he knew he would be hunted down. If he went, he would at least have a chance of an honest life not wondering who is behind him all the time.
“It is disgusting the British let him down after he risked his life to help them, and to save their lives, now he has lost his own,” they added.
Some 23 translators, allegedly ‘abandoned’ by Britain, have successfully reached Europe to escape the conflict and violence.
One Afghan interpreter called Khushal, who went by the nickname of ‘Happy,’ has managed to reach the migrant camps in Calais. He told RT he had received death threats from the Taliban after British troops left the country.
“I have faced big risks in my life, I have to face this one as well. I have to do this, it’s my last option,” Khushal told RT.
“The rules of the UK are a little bit complicated and a little bit difficult and that’s taking time … but I couldn’t wait in Kabul.”
He left the Middle East, crossed the Mediterranean, walked across Europe and is now attempting to cross the English Channel.
Khushal is being assisted by his former boss, ex-army officer George Tyldesley, who arrived in Calais to support his former colleague. He said they are planning to document their attempts to cross the border with the help of hidden cameras.