Afghan Spies Working For French Secret Cell 'left To Die' At Hands Of Taliban


Dozens of Afghan intelligence agents who worked for the French secret services in Afghanistan say they were abandoned by France after the Taliban took power on August 15, 2021. These allegations are revealed Wednesday in a joint investigation by RFI, the NGO Lighthouse Reports and daily newspaper Le Monde.

Division 915, or Shamshad, was a clandestine operation created by the Afghan intelligence services and France's DGSE secret service between 2009 and 2020.

Some 60-90 agents of the the Afghan secret service, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), were hired with the aim of collecting essential information intended for to help the DGSE in its mission to firstly protect French soldiers and interests, and then to fight against terrorism and the insurrection in Afghanistan.

After the fall of Kabul on 15 August, 2021, about 30 Afghan agents were evacuated to France. Others were forced to take refuge in India, Pakistan or Iran, where their safety was not guaranteed.

Some are still in Afghanistan, living in hiding in fear of being spotted by the Taliban.

Ali's story

This is the case of Ali. Aged in his 40s, he was in charge of the 915 division between 2014 and 2018. At the time, he was the link between sources in the field and DGSE agents based in Kabul.

Ali explains: “The objective was to gather information on the plans of the enemy. The enemy was Daesh, al-Qaeda, the Taliban and the Haqqani group.

“ Our colleagues in the field collected information about them which we shared with our French colleagues as well as with our colleagues from the Afghan intelligence services.

“ We also collect information on all French citizens who participate in international terrorist activities within al-Qaeda or other terrorist groups around the world and we monitor their possible entry into Afghan territory.

“ We collect all this information about the enemy, about his plans to kidnap, steal cars or threaten the embassy.”

The investigation revealed that in addition to his salary paid by the Afghan government, Ali received $1,000 each month from the French secret services.

When the Taliban took power on 15 August 15, Ali had no choice but to flee with his family to the provinces to hide. He was not evacuated by the French authorities.

Since then, he has lived in fear: “I cover my face every time I leave my house, or when I travel. I only go out after dark. I'm hiding. My friends help me financially and we sold all the gold jewelry we had so we could survive.”

Hamza's story

Another operative, 30-year-old Hamza, was also not evacuated. He worked in the administrative part of Division 915, and now lives in hiding in his own country.

Hamza sent us a video of the room where he lives, in the basement, only a mattress is spread out on the floor. This is where he is holed up with his family when we contact him.

“When the Taliban took power, we were all shocked, we were paranoid and terrified," Hamza says.

"I managed to take my family to relatives where we hid. We face hunger. Sometimes our families and friends support us, because we cannot work outside.

“ I haven't worked for almost two years since the Taliban took over. Sometimes we only eat once a day.”

Hamza lives in terror of being spotted by the Taliban and imprisoned, or worse.

He appeals to the French authorities: “The only thing we expect from the French government is that they listen to us. He must get us out of this situation, because we have rendered services to the French government.

“ The French authorities must save us from this slow death.”

Haroon's story

Despite the risks, former Afghan agent Haroon, who worked for the DGSE, has sent a message to French President Emmanuel Macron from the place where he is hiding with his family in Afghanistan.

He says he had no choice.
"I took the risk of playing with my life with this message. I told myself that either I get out of this or I die. I knew that people would see my message addressed to Macron.

"I hoped he would respond. I didn't care if the Taliban would see my message, because I had completely lost hope. So I thought there would be a way out. Unfortunately, I didn't get a response."

Zubeir's story

Some of Haroon's colleagues, like Zubeir, were able to leave Afghanistan. Zubeir was an Afghan secret agent and translator for the French secret service between 2017 and 2019. He has been living in India for almost two years.

Zubeir is bitter.
"When the Taliban took power, we were abandoned, France did not contact us to help us. Six, seven months later, some of our colleagues were contacted by the French authorities for an evacuation," he says.

"Since then, some have been evacuated by France and others like me have been abandoned."

Zubeir applied for a visa to France more than a year ago. He never got a reply.

The Ministry of the Armed Forces denies, for its part, that there has been any breach of duty with regard to ex-agents of the Afghan secret services who worked for the DGSE.

French diplomatic sources say France has repatriated a total of 9,000 Afghans since the Taliban returned to power in 2021.

*Names have been changed for security reasons.