Afghan interpreters demand asylum in Spain

Kabul, Sep 25 (IANS/EFE) Afghan interpreters who have worked for the Spanish mission in the central Asian country expressed their unease over the withdrawal of Spanish troops from Afghanistan in 2014 and the possibility that they might not receive asylum in Spain.

Ghulam Haidar, 23, expressed fears about being murdered by the Taliban.

Haidar is among the nearly 50 Afghans who on Sep 9 requested in writing from the Spanish Embassy in Kabul a safe conduct authorisation to travel to Spain and to be able to request "political asylum or subsidiary protection" there.

The group feels that both Spanish law as well as the directives of the UN refugee agency protect them, given that it is Spain's "responsibility" to protect personnel who have worked for its armed forces.

The Spanish defence ministry denied Tuesday that it had abandoned the Afghan interpreters who have worked for the Spanish mission in Afghanistan and said that all asylum requests presented so far are being processed.

The ministry said in a communique that the cases of 46 current and former interpreters have been examined.

The Afghan interpreters' request has resonated in the Spanish press and a campaign has been launched to support them.

Defence Minister Pedro Morenes earlier said that his department "has facilitated their situation in Afghanistan with regard to the risk they could have once the mission is over", adding that some workers have benefited from measures taken on their behalf.

The translators and interpreters emphasize that they have experienced dangerous situations and are now vulnerable to persecution and discrimination.

--IANS/EFE

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