Defections test NATO's and Karzai's
nerves By Ihsanullah Tipu
Five deadly attacks against foreign
troops in the past week carried out by Afghan law
enforcement personnel have being claimed by a
South Waziristan-based militant commander as the
work of Taliban splinter cells.
by the commander, who is believed to have been
leading Taliban recruitment of rogue elements
within Afghan security forces for the past two
years, bolsters Taliban assertions that it has
infiltrated the rank-and-file of the Afghan
National Army and the Afghan National Police. The
Pakistani Taliban are deeply aligned with the
Afghan Taliban in Pakistan's North and South
objective is to ideologically transform the maximum
number of Mili Urdu
[Afghan National Army] members and make them
realize that the foreign troops have invaded
Afghanistan under the pretext to destroy Islam and
the very code of Afghan nation's honor and
dignity," the commander, affiliated with Mulla
Nazeer group in South Waziristan, told Asia Times
Online on condition of anonymity.
ongoing spate of "green-on-blue" attacks against
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) troops
by local security forces reflects the perplexing
nature of the decade-long Afghan war and of the
conflict's end-game as the international
contingent prepares to withdraw by 2014. In the
past week, the five attacks by rogue elements of
the Afghan security apparatus killed seven
The attacks this month
came in rapid succession - one US soldier was
killed in eastern Afghanistan last Tuesday, while
last Thursday US troops killed an Afghan soldier
attempting to gun them down at in Laghman province
and three US soldiers were killed in Sangin
district in Helmand province. Three more US
soldiers were killed in Helmand the next day while
on Monday two more US soldiers were wounded in
Nangarhar when an Afghan police volunteer opened
fire on them.
As the attacks intensify,
the South Waziristan-based militant commander says
coordinating them is being made increasingly
difficult by the US's high-precision drone
Speaking exclusively to Asia
Times Online, he said all militants are now
keeping their true rank in respective
organizations secret to evade the attention of US
spies who guide US drones by placing an electronic
homing device, locally known as "patrai",
near the target.
"The day you reveal your
importance at organizational level to media you
come under American surveillance," the commander
said. "We have changed our strategy. We keep a low
profile but remain active operationally in our
fight against the crusaders".
In section 1
of the Taliban's "Book of Rules" issued by the
self-proclaimed "leader of the faithful", Mullah
Omar, it states that the Taliban must provide full
protection and other support to defectors, unless
they have harmed fellow Afghans or mujahideen.
A credible militant source, affiliated
with Hafiz Gul Bahadur's militant faction, which
holds sway across North Waziristan, said a
perception is growing among Afghans that Western
forces are losing the war. This, he said, is why
there are so many defectors from military and
civilian sections of Afghan government.
"People have now realized that Americans
are faced with humiliating defeat in Afghanistan
at the hands of the mujahideen. Now they are
switching their sides and joining Taliban because
they see them as their future rulers," he told
Asia Times Online.
A decade of war against
the mighty West has refined the Taliban's
strategy. Once a rag-tag militia relying solely on
the use of force, the movement now has many
tactics at its disposal to provoke an ill-educated
but fervently religious and nationalist Afghan
population into striking the international
coalition and the "puppet" Karzai administration.
A key means of exploiting Afghans'
religious and nationalist sentiment is through
propaganda, with radio, printing material and
religious sermons being used to sway hearts and
Public relations calamities for
Western allies such as the burning of the Koran at
Bagram Air base, increasing collateral damage as
the result of indiscriminate aerial shelling and
atrocities like US forces urinating on dead
Taliban bodies, have fueled these efforts. The
West's failure to punish any culprits in these
cases has further inflamed public sentiment.
Meanwhile, the Karzai regime has failed to
deliver law and order, with the average Afghan
left with no option but to look towards the
Taliban to get problems solved.
Taliban-established courts, though applying
extreme measures to deliver justice, have had no
shortage of work in ruling on matters ranging from
tribal feuds to family's vendettas.
"People prefer to get their disputes
resolved through Taliban courts because they
deliver swift and cheap justice," a local Afghan
elder, hailing from Afghan Khost province, told
this correspondent last month.
left with no option but to take arms and start
fighting the foreigners and their local puppets.
They have insulted our Koran and women, killed our
elders and kids, destroyed our property and also
supported the extreme corrupt and brutal regime of
Karzai," said another tribal elder from Afghan
Mehsud is Islamabad based investigative
journalist. He can be reached at
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