Utne Blogs > Politics

Translators Abandoned After Helping US Troops

 by Bennett Gordon

Tags: Politics, military, translators, Afghanistan, CorpWatch,

Military Translator

After risking their lives for American troops in Afghanistan, translators are often abandoned and mistreated. The largest suppliers of translators to the U.S. military, a company called Mission Essential Personnel (MEP), sees one of its translator die and two severely injured every month, on average. In an exposé by the investigative site CorpWatch, injured employees are speaking out against MEP, accusing the company of withholding compensation and care from injured or killed employees and their families.

One former MEP employee, Basir Ahmed, told CorpWatch that he was fired after a suicide bombing in the Khogyani district of northeastern Afghanistan severely injured him. Mission Essential Personnel fired Ahmed, accusing him of being frequently late and sometimes not showing up to work—charges that he insists are trumped up. Ahmed tells a story of being moved from hospital to hospital, being forced to wait in the dead of winter for medical visits, and of promised compensation arriving months late. CorpWatch reports:

Today, he lives in hiding in nearby Jalalabad for fear that his family will be targeted because he had worked with the U.S. military. The 29-year-old has no job and had to wait nine months for disability compensation to pay for medical treatment for the burns that still prevent him from lifting his hand to his mouth to feed himself.

You can watch a video from the report below:

Source: CorpWatch