Program in Ethics and Public Affairs
ABSTRACT: Recent months have seen widespread endorsement of the view that Western states withdrawing from Afghanistan owe especially stringent duties of rescue to Afghans who assisted their armed forces during the twenty years of Western intervention and occupation. Although concern has been expressed for those who worked with Western states quite broadly, it is the treatment of those who directly assisted Western forces – for example, by working alongside troops as translators or interpreters – that has received the lion’s share of attention and attracted the most fervent criticism. In this paper, I argue that we should reject the view that Afghan assisters are owed especially stringent duties of rescue compared to other Afghans, such as judges, teachers, and journalists, who face similar threats of harm at the hands of the Taliban.
Helen Frowe is Professor of Practical Philosophy and Knut and Alice Wallenberg Scholar at Stockholm University, where she directs the Stockholm Centre for the Ethics of War and Peace. She has longstanding research interests in permissible harming, particularly defensive harming and the ethics of war. She is currently working on the nature and scope of our duties to prevent harm, ways of being implicated in other people’s wrongdoing, and the protection of cultural heritage in war. She is the author of Defensive Killing (OUP, 2014) and The Ethics of War and Peace: An Introduction (Routledge, 2011; 2015). Her recent work has appeared in Ethics, Philosophy and Public Affairs, Philosophical Studies, Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy and Journal of Applied Philosophy.
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