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Death of Ataollah Taefik Khalili in Afghanistan

AIIC - The International Association of Conference Interpreters - deplores the death of Ataollah Taefik Khalili, an interpreter who died together with two members of the Spanish Guardia Civil in a recent shooting in Afghanistan. We would like to express our sincere condolences to all the families.

The media have quite rightly given broad coverage to the professional merits of the deceased civil guards. But little has been said about Ataollah Taefik Khalili himself, and nothing at all about the contractual relationship between him and the Guardia Civil or of his security training for high risk missions. All of the deceased have been awarded a Spanish distinguished military service medal, but only the civil guardsmen had the right to be remembered in a day of national mourning.

The families of the civil guardsmen will receive compensation according to state law, but we have heard nothing about compensation, or lack of it, for the family of the interpreter. Neither present Spanish legislation nor any international agreement covers interpreters who die or are injured in service – a shortcoming which the International Association of Conference Interpreters hopes can be redressed.

That the honor shown to interpreters, or civilians in general who die in service, be subject to government discretion is tantamount to an open door to decisions not necessarily based on clear, transparent and fair criteria.

The international Association of Conference Interpreters is very concerned that many interpreters have died in war zones and that no national or international agreements exist to protect them and to ensure adequate treatment and compensation for them and their families in the event of death or injury. 

1st September 2010

Recommended citation format:
Interpreters in areas of conflict. "Death of Ataollah Taefik Khalili in Afghanistan". August 27, 2010. Accessed July 6, 2020. <>.

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