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'They would kill me': Afghan interpreter stuck in Kabul fears Taliban reprisals

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By Anelise Borges
Taliban fighter stand guards in the city of Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021.
Taliban fighter stand guards in the city of Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Wali Sabawoon   -  

An Afghan interpreter who worked for US and Italian troops told Euronews the Taliban have not changed and that he fears for his life.

In her latest dispatch from Afghanistan, Euronews correspondent Anelise Borges spoke to Vega*, who says he worked alongside American forces in 2005, and later, with the Italian troops in 2009.

Vega applied for the US Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) — a programme to provide protection to Afghans affiliated with US missions — back in 2014, but his application is still pending.

Now, 10 days after Western countries finished their mass evacuation from Afghanistan, Vega remains stuck in Kabul.

The Taliban have maintained that their hardline ways of the late 1990s have given way to more measured governance and have declared a general amnesty, promising no retaliation against those who assisted the international coalition.

Vega gives this no credibility.

"They would kill me," he said. "Before they came to Kabul they said 'every guard, every interpreter we will not let them live'."

"The Taliban never changed," he added, arguing that the thousands of people who crowded near the airport after the group seized the capital city are proof that "nobody will trust the Taliban".

Coalition planes evacuated more than 124,000 civilians out of Afghanistan during the last two weeks of August.

The Taliban retook control of Kabul airport on August 31 following the departure of the last US troops. Several Western countries, including the UK and US, acknowledged that they had not been able to evacuate all those eligible during the narrow August window and called on the militant group to ensure safe passage to those left behind.

The first commercial flight with Westerners on board departed Kabul on Thursday.

*Vega is an alias to preserve his anonymity.

Watch the full video report in the player above.