Posts Tagged ‘peace talks’
The young Taliban commander with a penchant for severing spies’ heads with strands of thin wire dragged 28 of his foot soldiers from a makeshift jail and lined them up against a mud wall at his base.
Pacing along the row of handcuffed men, the fresh-faced 21-year-old — surrounded by bodyguards — drew his pistol.
“You’re about to be punished because you’ve taken money from infidels by working on building projects in winter,” shouted Ferozuddin. He had arrived in the east Afghanistan province of Ghazni in March to take command of Andar district after an American airstrike killed his predecessor.
As the fighters begged forgiveness, Ferozuddin marched up to the first one and shot him in the left knee. One by one he kneecapped the others.
“Ferozuddin is possessed,” said a Taliban judge from the same notoriously dangerous district. “He listens to no one, not even his elders. He is more sadistic than any commander Andar has ever seen.”
Ruthless young commanders like Ferozuddin are a by-product of Nato’s campaign to kill or capture Taliban commanders, say Afghan intelligence officials, analysts and western diplomats. They claim the new breed of militants replacing commanders killed or captured by Nato have stronger links to extremist groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Pakistani Taliban. Nato’s kill and capture campaign has also hampered negotiations with the Taliban, they say.
“They’re killing people we want to talk to and the new generation aren’t interested in talking at all,” said Haji din Mohammed, head of the contact committee of the High Peace Council, the Afghan government body responsible for liaising with insurgents. “The operation has been successful — Nato is killing a lot of people — but the patient is still dying.” Read the rest of this entry »
The killing of three British soldiers by an Afghan comrade last week has intensified Nato concern that Taliban fighters may be infiltrating Afghanistan’s army in growing numbers.
An Afghan sergeant shot dead a sleeping British officer and launched a rocket-propelled grenade that killed two other soldiers. British and Afghan military intelligence searching for the gunman suspect he may have been trained in Iran.
“Of course we’re worried about infiltration,” said an American colonel who works closely with the Afghan National Army (ANA). “The signs are that it is on the increase too. This is a big problem for us but there is little we can do.”
Nato’s eventual exit from the conflict relies heavily on the ability of the Afghan army to take responsibility for security. News of Taliban infiltration casts further doubts on the effectiveness of the Afghan force.
“Partnering with the Afghans is key to our success in this mission,” said Major-General Nick Carter, the commander of Nato troops in southern Afghanistan. “This [the murders] is damaging to the relationship we have with the Afghans. They are absolutely gutted by this.”
Carter said his opposite number in the ANA, Maj-Gen Sher Mohammad Zazi, had warned his subordinates to “look closely” at new recruits to see if any of them “behave in a strange way or act in an unusual fashion”. Read the rest of this entry »