Posted on 9 September 2022
Brokers have long been scrutinised for their purported disloyalty, but brokers' own attachments and expectations remain largely neglected. This article contributes to scholarship by shifting from the much-discussed betrayal by brokers, to 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. When brokers' remit is largely dictated by their patron, brokers stand more to lose than to gain.