Taliban say they killed 4 Afghan interpreters

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Trinh Do  Identity Verified
Member (2007)
English to Vietnamese
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Barbaric practice May 17, 2010

I wonder why the Taliban doesn't put money raised on their opium trade to hire Afghan interpreters? Interpreting or translating is a non-political practice, the professional conveys the message without bias. Let us draw an analogy: a translator of "Mein Kampf" of Hitler is unlikely to be pro-Nazi, more likely someone who wants to earn his keep. I myself has translated communist documents (faithfully), although I am very much anti-communist. It is best to provide maximum security for these interpreters because they are, after all, doing a thankless job regardless of the pay, at the risk of their lives and the US is unlikely to fully appreciate their services.


B D Finch  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:17
Member (2006)
French to English
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Barbaric May 17, 2010

Yes, the kidnap and murder of those interpreters is barbaric. That does not mean that the Afghan interpreters should be seen simply as neutral, uninvolved workers doing a job. I live in France, so will put this into a French context. Would a French interpreter working for the German military occupiers during the 2nd World War have been considered as neutral and just doing a job, or would they have been seen as a collaborator? I would argue that they should have been considered to be a collaborator. Similarly, translating Mein Kampf working for a neo-Nazi client who wanted to use the translation to promote fascism, would be collaboration with fascism and it would be disingenuous to argue that they were just doing a job to earn an honest crust.

I am not arguing that the US forces are fascist, though their use of torture at Bagram and elsewhere and their brutal disregard of the lives and welfare of the Afghan population must legitimately affect the point of view of those who are on the other side. None of us who have not experienced it can know how we would deal with living in the situation the Afghan interpreters were in. However, they did make the choice of working for the US army.


Krzysztof Kajetanowicz (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:17
English to Polish
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exactly my thoughts, Trinh Do May 17, 2010

The taliban are making the exact make mistake that we're making.

We're fighting drugs, thus making drug trade insanely profitable. We're thus stuffing the taliban pockets with money. It was just Al Capone during the prohibition times, it is fanatic murderers right now. We have not learned a single thing.

The taliban are forcing coalition troops to pay interpreters more money, possibly perking it up with an asylum offer after the job has been done (as Poland has accepted a number of former Iraqi interpreters). Now I imagine it's an attractive (if risky) job to do.

In terms of morality, well, on one hand we indeed are occupying their country and make no mistake, the vast majority of people in Afghanistan absolutely friggin hate us. On the other hand, a comparison of U.S., German or Polish troops in Afghanistan with Nazi occupation of any country whatsoever is unwarranted. The Nazis didn't attempt a 'reconstruction', or set targets for withdrawal of troops. They were more interested in Jew hunting. The Polish resistance were considered heroes by the population. I don't think the taliban are, after what they did to the country before 2001.

[Edited at 2010-05-17 10:01 GMT]


Trinh Do  Identity Verified
Member (2007)
English to Vietnamese
+ ...
Would the Taliban kill translators who translate Taliban texts May 17, 2010

Even if the Taliban is barbaric, I'm sure they can read and write, so would they kill the translators who translate their texts for the US army? After all, they cannot condemn their own slogans and texts.

I don't condone US presence in Afghanistan nor their bombing/shelling, killing civilians. However, if the US withdraws, the first victims are Afghani women and their death is far better than their life under the Taliban rule (I found this out through newspapers, feedback by Muslim women, and readings). I know there's no easy solution, but having the US there is better than having the Taliban. Karzai's government is weak without US aid, and even if Karzai is corrupt, he doesn't set restrictions on women, girls and so forth.

I like Proz.com and hope we can use this forum to promote better understanding of the Muslim culture to find out why they dislike the West so much, how to quell that dislike through cultural understanding without becoming extremists ourselves.

This reminds me of Vietnamese interpreters/translators during the Vietnam War. They were linguists, not collaborators. Nothing more. Except for the Vietnamese communists and some idiots who listen to their propaganda, the US was seen as occupying Vietnam, but that is untrue. The Vietnam War was a civil war - full stop. The North got support from China and the USSR, the South from the USA. The more belligerent won the war and the side wanting to enjoy life to the full just lost o:) (my side of humour). But neither side condemned translators who translated Russian or English.


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Taliban say they killed 4 Afghan interpreters

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