Scanpix. Montage: Sveriges Radio.
Swedish forces in Afghanistan

Give interpreters asylum: Armed forces chief

The Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, Sverker Göranson says Sweden should offer asylum to interpreters whose lives are threatened in Afghanistan.

“They are seen as a part of the Isaf force and the Swedish forces,” he told Dagens Nyheter newspaper at Sweden’s Mazar-i-Sharif base. “And not everyone wants us to be here.”

Last year the Migration Minister, Tobias Billström refused to grant special treatment for interpreters working for the Swedish armed forces. However Göranson says there is no doubt about the threat to interpreters' lives in Afghanistan and that Sweden needs to show “a degree of compassion” for them.

“It’s a question of Sweden’s brand. If we’re going to be able to function and recruit in the future, whichever country we’re in, then our interpreters have to feel that we’re taking care of them.”

Göranson has just returned from two months sick leave for exhaustion. He took the leave in late January following a controversy over his statement that Sweden could not defend itself against attack for more than a week.

In an interview with Swedish Radio on Wednesday he said he has not changed his view on that, despite being investigated by a prosecutor for potentially leaking state secrets.

While he was on leave the Armed Forces published figures revealing that it was short SEK 4 billion in funding.

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