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Assisting the Assisters: The Comparative Claims of Afghan Refugees

Tuesday, March 15, 2022, 3:40 pm – 5:20 pm

This colloquium talk is planned as an online event.


Recent months have seen widespread endorsement of the view that Western states withdrawing from Afghanistan owe especially stringent duties of rescue to Afghans who assisted their armed forces during the twenty years of Western intervention and occupation. Although concern has been expressed for those who worked with Western states quite broadly, it is the treatment of those who directly assisted Western forces – for example, by working alongside troops as translators or interpreters – that has received the lion’s share of attention and attracted the most fervent criticism. In this paper, I argue that we should reject the view that Afghan assisters are owed especially stringent duties of rescue compared to other Afghans, such as judges, teachers, and journalists, who face similar threats of harm at the hands of the Taliban.