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NYT journalist’s account of kidnapping 10, September 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Central Asia.
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Stephen-Farrell_2_611272a(Stephen Farrell – The Times)

Here’s the link to Stephen Farrell’s account of his four days in captivity after being kidnapped by the Taliban in Afghanistan until his rescue by British Special Forces, during which one soldier died. It is as engaging and ‘page-turning’ a read as it is possible to get. Once again as with all of these writings or even just those where people have some spent time with terrorists/freedom fighters/irregulars/bandits/insurgents, what comes across most profoundly (to me at least) is the relative normality of the people. They aren’t monsters, though some of them to monstrous things. Alas the other aspect of the story that is familiar is that the interpreter is killed, this time not by execution but in the fire-fight at the very end.

Here’s a link to an article to the memory of Farrell’s translator, Sultan Munadi, who died in the rescue operation. I feel, however, that it is unfair to call people like Sultan translators. To me a translator is someone who sits in an office or in an organisation and translates articles, speeches and the like. They are in a civilian environment doing a civilian job. People like Sultan are a different breed entirely doing a different job entirely. Whilst they do not always do it well, they are, nevertheless, unquestionably risking their lives. Their job is, therefore, unequivocally different and must be treated as such. It makes decisions like the British Government’s not to automatically grant translators entry to the UK utterly disgusting and immoral.