Brokers Betrayed: The Afterlife of Afghan Interpreters Employed by Western Armies

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Brokers have long been under scrutiny for their purported disloyalty, but brokers’ attachments to and expectations of the parties they mediate for, remain largely neglected. This article contributes to existing scholarship on brokerage by reversing the much-discussed theme of betrayal by brokers, focussing instead on betrayal of brokers. It maps three forms of betrayal - interpersonal; institutional and ideological – drawing on unique empirical material, including interviews with Afghan interpreters who worked for Western armies. It argues that the betrayal of brokers is facilitated by conditions of reduced demand and weak social ties in an unequal global order. In cases where the brokers’ remit is largely dictated by the patron, brokers stand more to lose than to gain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-458
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of International Development
Issue number3
Early online date24 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2023

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