Afghan Forces See Growing Defections to Taliban

As the fighting in Afghanistan continues to worsen, Al Jazeera reports that a growing number of members of Afghan security forces are switching sides and joining the Taliban. The article focuses on Sulieman Ameri, a member of Afghanistan’s police border patrol in Herat Province who, along with his 16 subordinates defected to the Taliban.

Ameri cites the “anti-Muslim” behavior of the occupying forces as a reason for his defection, and says his only goal is “I want them (the Americans) to leave this country.” According to the article a growing number of Taliban recruits have Afghan government issued weapons and training certificates from the US. One of the recruits says he received 45 days of training from Blackwater before defecting to the Taliban.

NATO spokesman Brigadier-General Richard Blanchette denies to charges of anti-Muslim behavior, insisting that troops were “behaving in the most respectful way.” He also denied knowledge of any specific activity in Herat Province, accusing the Taliban of a “propaganda campaign against us.” Herat Province was the site of a major air strike by US forces in August which killed at least 90 civilians and caused a massive amount of discontent among the local populace.

Even among those who aren’t formally detecting, there is increasing concern of militant infiltration in Afghanistan’s security forces. An Afghan policeman tossed a hand grenade at a US military patrol in Paktika Province, killing a US soldier in the second attack of its kind in the province in the past month.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.