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Swedish military 'won't help ex-translators'

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A Swedish soldier in Afghanistan. File photo: TT
11:52 CEST+02:00
The Swedish armed forces will not be held responsible for Afghan interpreters who are no longer in the employ of its Isaf troops, it was reported on Tuesday.

"We have employer responsibility for those who are employed(...) but that's severed if you terminate the employment," Armed Forces (Försvarsmakten) Lieutenant General Göran Mårtensson told Sveriges Radio (SR) .

Sweden takes part in the Nato-led, UN-mandated mission in Afghanistan with troops based in the country's north. The Armed Forces told The Local earlier this year that they had just shy of 30 translators either working directly for them or subcontracted through the company Supreme.

READ ALSO:  Afghan translator pins hope on Afghan asylum

Officials did not have an exact figure of how many translators its soldiers have worked with in Mazar-e-Sharif since taking charge of operations there in 2006.

The military said that "formal" responsibility for the translators ended upon the end of their contracts, but that it would make efforts on behalf of the individual for up to three months afterwards. The Swedish military helps file safety assessments for the interpreters, many of whom have said they feel threatened by insurgents.

"This claims a lot of resources," military spokesman Pär Dahlbom told the TT news agency. "In the end it's a question of capacity." 

READ ALSO:  Swedish army translator flees Afghanistan

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The military has no official power to sway the Swedish Migration Board in whether it accepts an asylum application, which must be filed from within Sweden, but several interpreters were granted the right to stay in Sweden through the UN Refugee Quota system last year.  

READ THE OP-ED:  'Give Afghan translators jobs in Sweden to skip the asylum process'

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