3 days ago
Aug 18, 2011
Something Shocking: Taliban as American Translators
As you may know, American troops and perhaps American intelligence services in Afghanistan often need Afghan translators who are fluent in both the Farsi and Pashto languages. There is constant advertising on Afghan TV channels that translators can earn as much as $220,000 per year.
What you may not know is that they don't require you to be a qualified translator! In fact, I know of people who were hired that were not even fluent in either one of those languages, and their command of English is worse than mine. I find this to be terribly unfair to all of our service men and women in Afghanistan. After all, how much do our fighting soldiers actually earn? Likely it is a fraction of what those translators make.
To add to the inequality of pay to service, the translators end up working in the safety of our bases in Kabul and elsewhere, whereas our troops are always in harm's way, fighting on the dangerous and deadly front lines throughout the mountains and fields of Afghanistan. Why do we hire thousands of unqualified individuals and shower them with that kind of money? There are thousands of Afghans living in Afghanistan that are fluent in English and who would be more than happy to support our cause and work with us for a fraction of that money. Even in America there are thousands of Afghans that could work for $5000 a month. However, the way that we appropriate the translator salary is only a small part of the concern.
What worries me the most is that we are not even careful about the background and the connections of the people we hire. For example, in the Seattle Afghan community, several people were hired that are well known pro-Taliban and are also members of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's extremist organization. When they talk with each other, they joke about how they are getting paid by the "infidels" while they are at the very same time simply helping their "Muslim brothers"—that would be the Taliban—when they are at work in Afghanistan! The fact that we are unable to identify these enemies is not as shocking as the fact that even when we know who they are we fail to take any measures to stop them.
Just before 9/11, three or four American women were captured by the Taliban in Kabul. They were charged with promoting Christianity and converting Muslims. This is a grave charge in any Islamic country, but that was especially true in Afghanistan under the rule of the Taliban and Bin Laden, where it was punishable by death. I recall feeling absolutely terrible when I heard of these arrests. I felt guilty for being an Afghan living in America, along with tens of thousands of other Afghans, all enjoying America's freedoms, without worry and without fear of persecution, yet none of us were doing anything significant to help or support the helpless Afghan people back home. In stark contrast, these American women had left their beautiful lives in America for Kabul to feed thousands of orphans; orphans which I might add were created by our Muslim Taliban brothers.
In Seattle during that time there was a small group of Afghans who allied themselves with, and sent aid to, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, one of the worst extremist leaders in all of Afghanistan, responsible for the killing of hundreds of thousands of innocent Afghans. At that time, the American system was much more liberal with respect to extremist ideologies, and therefore this group was operating freely and openly. Every two or three months this nefarious group would circulate a propaganda pamphlet among the greater Seattle Afghan community. That ugly pamphlet consisted mostly of news or messages from their killer leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.
Just before 9/11, they disseminated one of these propagandist pamphlets, which I'm happy to say was their very last one. However, it contained the story about those women missionaries arrested in Afghanistan, and it claimed to be giving us the "good news" that these "evil" Zionists missionaries were caught by the Taliban. Further, this Seattle-based extremist group called for the execution of these women to make an example of them, and argued to promote the idea that the Taliban should chase down and capture more "Zionists" and put them to immediate death as well.
A few years ago I found out that one of the two people who were acting as leaders of this group in Seattle had been hired as a translator by our army and was working with them in Kabul. Recently I also found out that the second leader of this group was also hired as a translator and is now imbedded with our troops in Afghanistan. We are paying each of these people hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money each year, and we have every reason to believe that they may be doing more to protect the Taliban than our own troops. This is utterly shocking to me! Needless to say, I was determined not to be quiet about it, and I have made many complaints to whatever authorities I could possibly contact. I even sent a letter to the recruiting company that had supposedly completed background checks on these two individuals. In response, a lawsuit was filed against me.
- Article by Shafie Ayar, Author of Afghan Hearts & Minds