Taliban Grant Renegade Afghan Soldier, Killer of 3 British Troops, Asylum

A soldier in the Afghanistan National Army based in Helmand province, at a joint base with the British 1st Battalion, Royal Gurkha Rifles, went berserk on Tuesday and killed three British soldiers, wounding two others. One of the dead was of Nepali heritage, the others were Britons. British military officials speculated that the renegade soldier may have had family ties to the Taliban or that the latter may have taken family members hostage.

This speculation is leant credence by the Taliban announcement that the soldier had fled to their territory and that they had given him refuge.

The incident rattled the British, and raised questions about the strategy of training and partnering with the Afghanistan National Army, in preparation for turning the country over to it beginning next summer.

The killings perhaps also gave President Hamid Karzai some ammunition in his ongoing dispute over Gen David Petraeus’s plan to create village local militias (albeit ones with a reporting line to the central government). Karzai fears they will foster warlordism and become an element of public disorder over time. Karzai and Petraeus met on Tuesday.

ITN has video:

Meanwhile, the Taliban rejected charges by a human rights group that it they had killed 60% of the over a thousand civilians who perished in political violence over the past six months. The Taliban insisted that the bulk of deaths come from NATO bombardment, and that they are careful not to kill civilians.

6 Responses

  1. I have realized again that I have no idea what the Taliban’s “basic platform” is — besides — some vague tribal/religious/gang protection-racket affliliation. Do most agricultural workers tend their own plots or are they sharecroppers? Is poverty so entrenched that the “serfs” in this scheme are simply hopeful of a better, fairer, more honest “master”?

    I have wondered if comparison can be made between the Taliban and the Mafia (and probably any number of other gang/militia settings)– You don’t need to be member to live in an area under their influence. You may even despise them, though — unless willing to relocate and risk your life — you wouldn’t inform on them. Over time, it’s possible in times of difficultly you might need their help and/or, just as likely, find yourself on the run from the same.

    Karzai fears that that “local militia” model will lead to a rise (re-institution?) of the warlord model. Have the warlords actually lost power? Can they be seen as competing “gangs” who form alliances, also run “protection” rackets, not only for people and businesses, but goods and services?

    I still feel there is a gaping hole in our understanding of how everyday Afghanistan gets along, how it “ticks.” I’ve read (although of course it is disputed) that Soviet/Communist agrarian reform was popular. Has this been erased?

    I wonder if the Afghan city mouse and country mouse inhabit the same country.

  2. Some of the Taliban tactics (extortion, brutal killings to scare other would be
    opponents) no doubt resemble that of a mafia. The primary difference is in objectives. The goal of the Taliban is to drive out US/NATO from AfPak and establish their own political control; it is not primarily a organized crime business to simply make as much money as possible. Drug trade and extortion money probably makes only a small portion of their finances which come for the most part from foreign donations (from Gulf and Middle East).

    It would need the development of a whole new science at military/political as well as ideological level to combat such movements in future. Accomplished academics in this area better start paying attention to this.

  3. “Develop a whole new science [of] military/ political”

    Folks, westerners have tried to settle politics in this region even before 1893 and Durand Lie later used to divide Pakistan and Afghanistan–so says wiki. To think the US can defeat the whole Pashtun tribe just amounts to delusional.

    Gosh, US can’t even safeguard “thousands” of laptops belonging to US Special Operations Command. link to empireofdirt77.blogspot.com

  4. The fact that the company commander was targeted would suggest that rather than going “berserk” the assassin carried out a carefully laid plan which evidently included a successful exit strategy!

  5. We should just warn civilians that whoever puts himself near a terrorist puts himself in danger.
    Can’t keep fighting like we do.. they figured it out and now they take advantage of our morality.

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