For those who have questioned why we are still losing lives and spending billions in Afghanistan, the latest report from the Human Rights Watch may add to your confusion. It appears that the Afghan and U.S. governments have decided to defeat infamous Islamic militia forces by handing over power to them. Militias accused of horrific abuses have been quietly moved into the police forces in a desperate attempt by both governments to stem attacks from insurgent forces.
In its 102-page report, “‘Just Don’t Call It a Militia:’ Impunity, Militias and the ‘Afghan Local Police,’” documents how these forces have been guilty of rape and murders but are now being given police powers by U.S. and Afghan officials in Baghlan, Herat, and Uruzgan provinces.
In Baghlan province, former fighters with the Islamist Hezb-i-Islami, including a local strongman, Nur-ul Haq, have been recruited into the ALP. Haq and his men have been implicated in killings, land-grabs, and abductions. But the police have refused to investigate the allegations, telling Human Rights Watch that they are unable to question suspected ALP members due to their connections with powerful government officials and US special forces. In April, four armed ALP members in Baghlan abducted a 13-year-old boy on his way home from the bazaar and took him to the house of an ALP sub-commander, where he was gang raped. He escaped the next day. Although the assailants’ identities were well known, no arrests have taken place.
So, just to keep track, the Afghan government has reintroduced Sharia law, moved against rights for women and religious minorities, engaged in breathtaking corruption (including the disappearance of billions in cash from U.S. programs), and now has turned over police functions to the militias that we supposedly were fighting to bring freedom to the nation. This may ultimately help President Karzai who has repeatedly denounced the U.S. and said he wished he had joined the Taliban against us. Now, it seems he can have the best of both worlds: billions in U.S. money while an allegiance with the infamous militia forces.