Exclusive: From Taliban-controlled Herat, former interpreter with Italian army says 'I won't forgive you if Taliban kill my son'
14 August 2021
Taliban insurgents celebrate in Herat after seizing Afghanistan's third city where the Italian military contingent was headquartered
HERAT -- An Afghan former interpreter with the italian army trapped in Herat after Taliban forces took control of the city said Saturday he and his family have 'run out of options and time' after the Italian Embassy failed to honour a promise to evacuate them from the former headquarters of the Italian Afghanistan contingent.
"Please get this quote published and let the world and Italian authorities know -- I forgive you for what would happen to me but I won't forgive you if anything happens to my innocent four-year-old son and my wife," the interpreter told the Italian Insider as Italian embassy officials prepared to head to the airport in Kabul to escape to Rome.
The interpeter had been told by the Italian Defence Attaché in Kabul just to wait to be contacted by italian authorities to be taken out of Afghanistan but the promise was reneged on until it was too late.
"No one has offered to give us a helping hand in this extremely critical situation. We helped the Italian forces when they needed us the most but were left unprotected though we made them aware months and even years before."
"The Taliban have captured the province entirely and all government officials either fled the province or surrendered to the Taliban. Herat fell to the Taliban with minimal clashes -- almost without resistance from the government side," said the interpreter, who spoke to the Insider on condition he not be named.
"My plan was to go to Kabul but unfortunately I wasn't able to find a flight. I wanted to take the bus to Kabul last night but it was too late and the Taliban arrived yesterday afternoon. I went to hiding and didn't dare to go to the terminal because of the Taliban heavy presence on the streets."
"We are all stuck and terrified about the situation and have run out of options and time. The fear of retaliation and retribution from the side of the Taliban is giving me nightmares at nights. I slept only two hours last night," he continued.
"There are rumors that they are soon going to start searching houses for specific people such as the government officials, army officers and soldiers, police officials, Ismoil Khan's fighters and contractors of the international forces."
There was no immediate comment from the Italian Defence Ministry press office when asked by the Italian Insider for information on the plight of the interpeters, who a week ago the ministry had insisted would be helped to leave Afghanistan to escape Taliban reprisals.
Taliban revenge in Herat could be particularly bloody, the interpeter quoted ordinary people speculating.
"They announced 'amnesty,' and asked people to come and get their 'amnesty cards' which is alleged believed to be a conspiracy to trap and later take revenge. There are also rumors that the taliban are going to take revenge in a unprecedented fashion because of the resistance that took place in Herat and the losses that the Taliban suffered."
He added that "the reports and witnesses also stress that the Imams and other influencial figures are under tremendous presure to hand over certain people to the Taliban. It's a dire and desperate situation overshadowing any peaceful settlement in a near future. I am no longer able to think of a way out."
"I am sorry for what we did to this land and people and we have to keep in mind that we are all responsible for this tragedy."
"Also please hide my identity in your article since I officially live under the Taliban rule now ... God bless you."
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