By accident came across this blog Afghanistan My Last Tour as I was searching links to the IP address of AmericansForJerusalem.com. What I had read before as a rumor, was written down by Sgt. Rex Temple in one of several interviews with former commanders of the Mujahedeen who served before 9/11 under Massoud in Pansjir.
(Blog Afghanistan My Last Tour) April 15, 2010 – In order to defeat the Taliban, Major Shah listed several criteria. First, the endemic corruption must be removed from all sectors of government to include the ANA. He felt there is still too much nepotism and cronyism based on ethnic tribe origin, i.e.Tajik, Hazara, Pashtun. The second factor is the people are not satisfied with the current government and they must unify. Unity is the key and he repeated this theme several times. Then he shocked me with his next statement. He alleged Britain was supporting the Taliban. I found this preposterous and gave him an opportunity to explain.
Maj Shah alleged Britain is playing both sides because they are supporting the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in Pakistan. The ISI in turn is supporting the Taliban. For the next 20 minutes I defended Britain and the Religious Officer never answered my questions directly. He claimed the security situation is worse in Herat because of the Brits and that they don’t suffer many casualties. I strongly objected because Britain has the second highest casualty rate behind the United States. He also mentioned something about revenge against the United States that didn’t make sense to me. (Note: After the interview I tried to discuss this in more detail with Omid and I got the impression what he was inferring that Britain wanted the United States to lose the war, the same way the Soviets did. I recall a snippet from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates memoirs, “From the Shadows”, the United States saw an opportunity “give the Soviets their Vietnam” and they took the bait and invaded Afghanistan.)
I am still perplexed over this whole issue. There were rumors that Britain used their helicopters and dropped off the Taliban fighters in the Mazir Sharif province. But I explained to Major Shah, this is an example of how the Taliban spread rumors in the same way they allege American soldiers intentionally burn the Koran. These rumors are propaganda and only incite violence, demonstrations and infuriate the Afghan citizens. However, due to the high illiteracy rate, the people believe their religious mullahs and the rumors.
More below the fold …
MAZAR-E-SHARIF – Persistent accounts of Western forces in Afghanistan using their helicopters to ferry Taliban fighters, strongly denied by the military, is feeding mistrust of the forces that are supposed to be bringing order to the country.
One such tale came from a soldier from the 209th Shahin Corps of the Afghan National Army, fighting against the growing insurgency in Kunduz province in northern Afghanistan. Over several months, he had taken part in several pitched battles against the armed opposition.
“Just when the police and army managed to surround the Taliban in a village of Qala-e-Zaal district, we saw helicopters land with support teams,” he said. “They managed to rescue their friends from our encirclement, and even to inflict defeat on the Afghan National Army.”
But the persistent rumors that foreign helicopters have been sighted assisting the Taliban in northern Afghanistan were given an unexpected boost in mid-October by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who told the media that his administration was investigating similar reports that “unknown” helicopters were ferrying the insurgents from Helmand province in the south to Baghlan, Kunduz and Samangan provinces in the north.
Captain Tim Dark, of Britain’s Task Force Helmand, was vehement in his reaction. “The thought that British soldiers could be aiding and abetting the enemy is just rubbish,” he said. “We have had 85 casualties so far this year.”
Engineer Mohammad Omar, governor of Kunduz, refused to comment on the issue, but Enayatullah Enayat, governor of Samangan, also denied that the helicopters were moving the opposition around in Samangan. “I am in contact with both national and foreign forces in Samangan,” he said. “I have not seen any suspicious helicopters bringing in the Taliban.”
The north has recently witnessed a spike in insurgent activity, particularly in Kunduz and Baghlan. Provinces that were relatively calm even six months ago are experiencing armed attacks, suicide bombings and even outright Taliban control over several districts.
In a district of Baghlan province, Baghlan-e-Markazi, residents witnessed a battle last month in which they insisted that two foreign helicopters had delivered the Taliban fighters who then attacked their district center. “I saw the helicopters with my own eyes,” said Sayed Rafiq from Baghlan-e-Markazi. “They landed near the foothills and offloaded dozens of Taliban with turbans, and wrapped in patus [a blanket-type shawl].”
According to numerous media reports, the Taliban attacked the district center, and the district police chief along with the head of counter-narcotics and a number of soldiers were killed.
Commander Amir Gul, district governor of Baghlan-e-Markazi, insisted that the Taliban fighters had been delivered by helicopter. “I do not know to which country the helicopters belonged,” he told the Institute for War and Peace Reporting. “But these are the same helicopters that are taking the Taliban from Helmand to Kandahar and from there to the north, especially to Baghlan.”
According to Amir Gul, the district department of the National Security Directorate had identified the choppers, but it refused to comment. Baghlan police chief, Mohammad Kabir Andarabi, said that his department had reported to the central government that foreign helicopters were transporting the Taliban into Baghlan.
The Baghlan provincial governor, Mohammad Akbar Barikzai, told a news conference on October 21 that his intelligence and security services had discovered that unidentified helicopters were landing at night in some parts of the province.
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