The rain will soon turn to snow – winter is at the door of Afghanistan.
In a house outside Mazar-i-Sharif lives a man with a history that also concerns Norway.
– This is a t-shirt from the Norwegian army, which they gave to us, says “Ahmed” – as we have chosen to call him – in a low voice.
The colors of the Norwegian flag on his shoulder are clear, the press edge shows that he has never dared to wear it.
From a secret location, Ahmed finds the pictures many of his colleagues have burned for fear of being linked to Norway and the ISAF force. In the beginning they were over 20 people in the same situation, now there are twelve left. The others have been granted residence in Sweden, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.
– This is Hugo, Ivar and Sven Erik. Ahmed gets hot in his voice as his fingers slide over the pictures.
– You look happy?
– Yes, at that time I was very well.
The memories from the four years he has worked as a caretaker in Camp Nidaros are many and good. The Norwegians were a people you could really trust, he says.
– We used to tell friends and relatives that Norwegians are the best in the world. They are decent people.
He tells about life in Camp Nidaros, and the good times with the Norwegian soldiers he once saw as his friends.
– Do you still trust Norwegians?
– During the time I worked with them, they never lied to me. I hope they will not lead us behind the light this time either.
– Since they promised, I’m sure they will evacuate us. But I do not understand why nothing happens.
When the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August this year, Ahmed and the others who have worked for Norway feared for their lives.
During the next 20 years of war in Afghanistan, the Taliban have repeatedly announced that all who cooperate with the enemy are also their enemy and should be beheaded.
Great was therefore the joy when Ahmed, and others who have worked for Norway in Maimana, Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif in August received a text message from Norwegian officials in Afghanistan. It said that they and their families would meet at Kabul International Airport to be evacuated:
“We are from the Norwegian government. We’re trying to evacuate you. If you need help, tell us where you are ».
But when a suicide bomber struck Kabul International Airport on August 26, the counter-message came:
– At night, they sent us a new message where they said that they had unfortunately stopped the evacuation, Ahmed says.
– Have you heard anything from the Norwegian government after that?
– Not yet, Ahmed says softly and looks towards the room where his wife and three-year-old daughter are staying.
We go up the stairs to the roof. On a small ledge inside the steel door that barely keeps out the cold, three canaries sit in cages. Two white and one yellow.
Ahmed carefully pours some bird seed into the food bowl.
– All our relatives ask why they worked for other countries such as Sweden, Germany and the UK have been evacuated.
That even his own wife now doubts that they will be evacuated is hard to bear.
– Can we take a break?
Emotions take over, and Ahmed goes out on the roof of the house that is now the family’s hiding place.
An icy wind sweeps rain in from the north.
Not far away we hear the prayer call from the mosque.
Ahmed still trusts that Norwegians are a people who stand by their word.
But the doubt gnaws farther and farther in with each passing day.
Working with application scheme
Minister of Defense Odd Roger Enoksen tells TV 2 that he is working on an application scheme for former employees in the Armed Forces in Afghanistan, but he cannot say when it will be ready.
– I understand very well the frustration and desire to come out among those who have been employed in the Norwegian defense, Enoksen says.
While Sweden, the United Kingdom and a number of other countries have resumed the evacuations of former local employees from Afghanistan, the Minister of Defense will not give any guarantees.
– We have taken out some, but there are a few different things that are the basis for us to take out more. We are working on that application order now, says Enoksen.
– What are the different things that form the basis?
– I can not go into that, but the most important thing is to get the new application scheme carried out as soon as possible, Enoksen concludes.
– Norway must take responsibility
Red Party leader Bjørnar Moxnes is putting pressure on the government to get the 12 Afghans who worked for the Norwegian forces in Mazar-i-Sharif in the period 2006-2014.
– They have done a job for Norway, they have done it with both danger to life and health for both themselves and their family. Therefore, all that is needed is for Norway to help those who need help. It is a responsibility we have and must take, says Moxnes to TV 2.
Kristian Berg Harpviken, researcher at the Department of Peace Research, says that there have been many cases where people who have worked for foreign forces have been subjected to reprisals.
– It is a bit unclear whether it is under the auspices of the Taliban leadership or whether there are others who take revenge, Harpviken says.
He sees the situation in Afghanistan as confusing and very insecure.
– There is no doubt that they have worked for the foreign forces have more to fear than an ordinary Afghan, says Harpviken.