• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Swedish army translator flees Afghanistan

Swedish army translator flees Afghanistan

Ann Törnkvist · 14 Mar 2014, 08:34

Published: 14 Mar 2014 08:34 GMT+01:00

"'If we find you we will kill you'," Fahim recalled being told by the Taliban as he contacted The Local this week after leaving Afghanistan behind. "Several weeks they were chasing me, they asked some of my friends where I was."

Fahim had gone underground after receiving threatening phone calls and letters, but stayed relatively close to his family, which soon proved untenable. The young Afghan claimed that the Taliban had kidnapped a close relative, tortured him, and tried to force him to tell them where Fahim was hiding. 

Fahim, which is not his real name, worked for the Swedish Isaf forces in Mazar-e-Sharif in the north of the country. The Swedish Armed Forces have confirmed that he was in their employ. Sweden's Armed Forces currently have just shy of 30 translators either working directly for them or subcontracted through the company Supreme. However, officials did not have an exact figure of how many translators its soldiers have worked with in Mazar-e-Sharif since leading operations there in 2006. 

The young man said that he was part of a group of 24 interpreters that last year implored Sweden to grant them asylum due to threats levelled at people who had worked for foreign forces.

Swedish migration law, however, states that an applicant must physically be in Sweden to submit his or her case. Fahim has asked Sweden's Camp Northern Lights for help, and he has also now contacted the Swedish embassy in the country where he has taken refuge.

READ ALSO: Afghan translator pins hope on Swedish asylum

In December 2013, the Migration Board announced it would grant asylum to several Isaf interpreters, without specifying the number. Fahim was not one of them.

His former colleagues were granted asylum as part of the UNHCR-managed refugee quota system, which Migration Board department head Oskar Eklund said is determined by the Swedish parliament. Neither his staff nor the Armed Forces have the power to alter the number of quota refugees.

Story continues below…

As Fahim remains in limbo, he said he was hoping for news from the Swedish embassy. 

"But still I did not get any answer," Fahim told The Local. 

This article was updated at 14.17pm on March 14th, 2014. The Migration Board granted asylum to an undisclosed number of interpreters in December 2013, not 30 as previously stated. 

Ann Törnkvist (ann.tornkvist@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Coeliac disease not caused by early weaning: Swedish study
Carin Andrén Aronsson now plans to investigate why Sweden has such high levels of coeliac disease. Photo: Polarbrod

Mothers who stop breastfeeding early are not to blame for their children developing gluten intolerance, a new Swedish study has found.

Zlatan look-a-like storms pitch as Man U take on champions
A grinning Zlatan pushed the man away with the palm of his hand. Photo: YouTube

Zlatan fever has hit the UK, with a look-a-like storming the pitch on Saturday only to be palmed off by the grinning Swedish football star.

Russian Sweden Democrat aide resigns over suspect deal
'Egor Putilov' had access to all areas of the Swedish parliament: Photo: Riksdag

A Russian-born political secretary for the Sweden Democrats has resigned after making six million kronor ($0.7m) in a property deal with a St Petersburg businessman.

Trump an 'embarrassment' Springsteen tells Sweden
Bruce Springsteen tells SVT talk show host that Trump is an 'embarrassment' to the US. Photo: SVT/Youtube

Rock legend Bruce Springsteen has described Donald Trump as an embarrassment to the United States, in an interview on Sweden's Skavlan talk show.

'World class' developer told to leave Sweden over admin slip
Software developer Tayyab Shabab. Photo: Private

Tayyab Shabab has a house, a job and pays tax in Sweden, but he has now been told he must leave within three weeks.

Police release men held over bomb threat on refugee home
Police officers outside the building. Photo: Robert Nyholm/TT

UPDATED: Two men arrested after a bomb threat was made against a home for refugees in Boden, northern Sweden, have been allowed to leave custody.

Embassy: No-go zones 'do not exist in Sweden'
Police on the Serbian-Hungarian border. Photo: Sofia Eriksson/TT

Sweden's embassy in Budapest has sharply rebuked Hungary after an official leaflet claimed that Stockholm and other European cities had become "no-go areas".

The Local List
Ten reasons why it's awesome being knocked up in Sweden
Being pregnant in Sweden can be pretty great. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

US writer Lisa Ferland shares her top reasons why she thinks Sweden is wonderful for expecting mums.

The Local Recipe
Welcome in the autumn with this Swedish tiger cake
Tiger cake and coffee, the perfect combination. Photo: John Duxbury/Swedish Food

Fika: the best part of the day. Make this tiger cake and you'll keep everyone very happy.

Four arrested over Gothenburg riots
File photo of a Swedish police officer. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

Four people have been arrested in connection with riots in a Gothenburg suburb this week.

Sponsored Article
Let's Talk: a personal Swedish language tutor in your pocket
National
Muslim teacher leaves job after not shaking male colleague's hand
Sponsored Article
‘I view the world in a different way now’
Travel
Why we adore autumn in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 21st
Blog updates

7 September

Svensk or svenska? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! My inbox is full of questions :-). Here’s one about when to use “svensk” and…" READ »

 

23 August

A Summer in Sweden (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"For our first year here in Sweden we decided to have all our holidays in Sweden.…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
'Creating a sense of home': Collective living in Stockholm
National
Stockholmers hunt killer badger after attack on neighbourhood hipster cat
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
The Local Voices
Why this Russian developer is committed to helping refugees - with tech
National
Six key points in Sweden's budget plan
The Local Voices
How a Swedish name finally made recruiters notice this Iranian's CV
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: 'So much more than beaches'
Gallery
Property of the week: Luleå
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Gallery
People-watching: September 16th-18th
Culture
Why Swedish TV has given these kids' trucks a sex swap
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
National
TIMELINE: Everything you need to know about the Julian Assange case
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Gallery
People-watching: September 14th
Politics
Why Sweden is putting troops on holiday dream island Gotland
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
The Local Voices
'What I mean when I say: I came here to blow myself up'
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Society
VIDEO: Are Swedes that unfriendly?
Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden’s ’a-kassa’
Features
INTERVIEW: How Arthur the jungle dog opened hearts and minds
Gallery
Property of the week: Smögen, Västra Götaland
Society
Sweden's ancient forest tongue Elfdalian fights for survival
National
Where Sweden's foreigners are from
Gallery
People-watching: September 9th-11th
The Local Voices
Shakib, 23, works and pays taxes — but will Sweden let him stay?
National
Watch this Swede roll his kayak without spilling his beer. Respect.
Gallery
People-watching: September 7th
The Local Voices
'Swedes are polarized on refugees - it's the welcome mat or the exit door'
National
WATCH: Yes, this Swedish rising star really is Abba legend's grandson
The Local Voices
'Whenever I apply for jobs I’m treated like an unwanted stranger'
The Local Voices
Is Swedish bosses' ignorance keeping refugees out of jobs?
2,966
jobs available