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US has militarized Afghan police, giving millions of dollars to brutal WARLORDS, watchdog says

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In 2004, when the Taliban took advantage of international forces in Afghanistan, Washington’s leaders made a fundamental shift in policy — putting the Pentagon in charge of overseeing the country’s new police forces.

The result was a disastrous “militarization” of the Afghan police, putting brutal warlords in charge of security and ensuring they receive millions of dollars in US funding despite human rights violations, according to a scathing new report.

Among them was Abdul Raziq, who was celebrated by US commanders for bringing security to the Taliban hotbed of Kandahar, even though he and his men were charged with murder and torture.

The report details how the US focus on counter-terrorism led to the Afghan police being deployed to fight the Taliban and al-Qaeda rather than tackle crime.

As a result of this policy change, the Afghan police has become increasingly militarized, with a focus on fighting insurgents rather than arresting the common criminals and mobsters – many of whom were members of or closely associated with the Afghan government – affecting the everyday lives of Afghan citizens,” wrote John Sopko, the Congress-appointed Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction.

“This militarization, along with the US’s focus on counter-insurgency operations, gave warlords who became police chiefs tactically adept at fighting but also known as human rights abusers and criminals more power and support.”

Kandahar Police Chief General Abdul Raziq is pictured in 2017. US commanders praised his actions in the fight against the Taliban, but a new watchdog report describes how they turn a blind eye to accusations or murder and torture under his brutal leadership

In a new report, John Sopko, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, says US militarization of the Afghan National Police has empowered warlords and undermined ordinary Afghans' confidence in the new crime-fighting institution .

In a new report, John Sopko, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, says US militarization of the Afghan National Police has empowered warlords and undermined ordinary Afghans’ confidence in the new crime-fighting institution .

The new report is the latest in a series of 'learned' investigations into US policy

The new report is the latest in a series of ‘learned’ investigations into US policy

Sopko concludes that ordinary Afghans quickly lost confidence that the police would protect them.

“For more than a decade, that Afghan police force of after 2001 has operated with near-total impunity,” he writes.

“The Afghan government and the international community have not held Afghan police officers, especially those with political connections, responsible for numerous acts of corruption and human rights abuses: extortion, arbitrary detention, torture and even extrajudicial killings.

“This quickly diminished popular hopes that the new Afghan government would serve their interests.

Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction John Sopko

Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction John Sopko

“Over time, the Taliban have exploited that lack of confidence to clear the way again in Afghanistan.”

His findings come in the latest of a series of “lessons learned” reports examining how the US spent trillions of dollars rebuilding Afghanistan over 20 years.

His conclusions represent the deepest dive yet into how the US ultimately failed in its objectives and had to race for the exit as the Taliban approached the capital Kabul in August last year.

In May, he accused both the Trump and Biden administrations of pulling the carpet under the Afghan government and its armed forces, first making a deal with the Taliban and then going ahead with the withdrawal.

Taliban fighters celebrated before storming into Kabul International Airport after US troops left, securing their hold on the country last year as Afghan forces melted away

Taliban fighters celebrated before storming into Kabul International Airport after US troops left, securing their hold on the country last year as Afghan forces melted away

Last month, Sopko said the collapse of the Afghan armed forces should have been predicted once US aid was withdrawn, despite officials saying it was impossible to predict.

Last month, Sopko said the collapse of the Afghan armed forces should have been predicted once US aid was withdrawn, despite officials saying it was impossible to predict.

“Many Afghans believed that the US-Taliban agreement was an act of bad faith and a signal that the US was handing over Afghanistan to the enemy as they rushed out of the country; the immediate effect was a dramatic loss in ANDSF’s morale,” he wrote, using an acronym for the country’s defense and security forces.

His latest report examines international efforts to build a police force and why it has failed to protect the country’s population despite $21 billion in international funding.

It focuses on the way the US turns a blind eye to the activities of commanders like Raziq, who were on the front lines of the war against the Taliban.

His troops were even trained by US special forces, as well as contractors with Dyncorp and Xe (formerly Blackwater.

Still, concerns were raised almost as soon as the local militia leader was drafted into the police force, with allegations that his troops settled a family account by attacking 16 traveling Pakistanis and claiming they were Taliban.

“After Raziq’s promotion, Kandahar became a hotbed of systematic torture and enforced disappearances,” the report says.

A UN survey found that more than 90 percent of inmates reported torture, which included “forcibly pumping water into the stomach, crushing their testicles with clamps, suffocation to the point of losing consciousness, and applying electrical current to their stomachs.” genitals.’

According to a United Nations survey, more than 90 percent of people held in Raziq's prisons reported torture, including 'having the testicles crushed with clamps'

According to a United Nations survey, more than 90 percent of people held in Raziq’s prisons reported torture, including ‘having the testicles crushed with clamps’

Raziq's brutal reign as Kandahar police chief ended when he was assassinated in 2018

Raziq’s brutal reign as Kandahar police chief ended when he was assassinated in 2018

Another story described how one of his commanders would force people violating Kandahar’s one-person-to-a-bike rule to kneel on the ground and kiss the hot exhaust pipe.

Raziq has always denied allegations of cruelty, claiming that bodies with injuries consistent with summary execution were actually the result of gunfights with the Taliban

“For years, the US military looked the other way as Raziq engaged in corruption, drug trafficking and gross human rights violations,” Sopko writes.

The reason was simple. “US officials publicly praised the fighting prowess of Raziq’s fighters, and Raziq was transformed into a folk hero,” for his efforts against insurgents, even though the US stopped transferring prisoners to its prisons.

He operated with impunity until his murder in 2018.

Abuse should have ended US funding under the Leahy Acts – a series of Congressional laws.

‘Yet SIGAR discovered in June 2017 that [the Department of Defense] was unwilling to cut funding to Afghan allies engaged in torture, extrajudicial killings and other gross human rights violations when they were deemed indispensable to counterinsurgency,” the report said.

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