Afghan who worked for French forces killed by Taleban, say relatives

Ahmad Siyar Anwari, a former interpreter working for the French military, holds a phone with a picture of Abdul Basir.
Ahmad Siyar Anwari, a former interpreter working for the French military, holds a phone with a picture of Abdul Basir.PHOTO: AFP

KABUL (AFP) - An Afghan who spent five years working at a French military warehouse near Kabul has been shot dead by the Taleban, relatives said on Friday (June 25), as fears mount for thousands of locals at risk of reprisals from the insurgents.

The ongoing withdrawal of foreign troops has prompted a scramble for visas from Afghans who worked as guides, translators and in other roles for the US and Nato since the Taleban were overthrown in 2001.

On Friday, the brother and uncle of Abdul Basir told AFP the 33-year-old father of five had been killed by the Taleban in Wardak on June 19.

"He had been missing for two weeks when the Wardak police headquarters called us to inform us that he had been killed by the Taleban with two bullets in the stomach," said the brother, who asked not to be named.

"He was also suffering from bruises to his right eye and nose," he added, showing AFP photos of Basir's battered corpse.

Basir was employed at a Nato warehouse used by the French military until the departure of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) at the end of 2014.

His Parisian lawyer, William O'Rorke, told AFP that Basir had twice been rejected for a special visa granted to Afghans who worked for the military.

The Taleban, who have made huge gains across the country since the United States and Nato began the final phase of their troop withdrawal on May 1, have said Afghans who worked for foreign forces would not be punished if they "showed remorse".

But few Afghans trust the insurgents and at least one former interpreter was killed in October 2018 in Kabul.

"Basir's situation is comparable to dozens of others," said O'Rorke.

"For 10 years, we have witnessed a chain of cowardice. France wants to forget them, hoping that they disappear without making a fuss."