Afghans who worked with German troops seek protection

KABUL (Tolo News): Some Afghans who have worked with German troops in Afghanistan, especially in the north, expressed their concerns about their future and said they see a big threat to their lives after the coalition forces leave the country in the next few months.

The Afghan contractors held a protest outside German troops’ base in the city of Mazar-e-Sharif, seeking asylum and protection. One of them who wished not to be named over security reasons said he worked with German armed forces for nine years and that three of his colleagues who worked with the forces were killed.

“If the staff is not supported, it will not only be a concern for us but for our families, too,” the contractor said. A small number of them who held a protest outside German troops base in Balkh chanted the slogans of “don’t leave us alone” in Deutsch. “You have seen targeted attacks… We are concerned. We feel insulted in society. We are labeled wrongly for working with them [German armed forces],” said Najibullah, a former Afghan contractor with German forces.

“Everyone’s safety should be ensured. Same should be for us as their former staff,” said Samad, a former Afghan contractor with German forces. “Those who have worked with them [German forces] are all under threat. The security situation in Afghanistan is changing every day. Therefore, we are here to ask for our rights so that we get their response and their final decision,” an Afghan, who has worked with Germans, said, requesting not to be named.

Quoted by Germany’s DPA news agency on April 18, German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said her country will not let down its Afghan staff as the international military mission in the country winds down after at least two decades of war. “I feel it is Germany’s sincere duty to not leave these people without protection now that we will permanently withdraw,” she said.

US President Joe Biden and NATO in April announced that they would withdraw their troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11. The withdrawal began on May 1st. Germany is the second-largest contingent with about 1,100 troops. The decision has raised concerns about Afghanistan’s political future and that it could erupt into another civil war, providing al Qaeda space in which to rebuild and plan new attacks on the US and other targets.

Based on figures by Germany’s Defense Ministry as mentioned in a Reuters report in April, German forces employ about 300 Afghans as interpreters and in other jobs. The report says that since 2013 Germany has admitted nearly 800 Afghans at risk in their own country after working for the foreign military, as well as about 2,500 family members.