At Least 16 Afghan Police Killed in Checkpoint Attacks

Officials Blame Opposition Political Party for Strikes

by Jason Ditz, December 14, 2009

Eight policemen were killed in an attack on a police checkpoint in Lashkar Gah, Helmand early this morning, and another eight were killed in a virtually identical attack in the usually quiet Baghlan Province, on the other side of the country.

The attacks were just the latest in a growing number of attacks on Afghan police across the country, at a time when the US is attempting to bolster the force and Afghan civilians are increasingly disillusioned with what is proving to be a very ineffective and corrupt security force.

Mysteriously, however, officials insist the Taliban didn’t launch these attacks. Instead they are pointing the finger at Hezb-e Islami, an opposition political party which has its origins in an Islamist militia created to fight the Soviet occupation in the 1970’s.

The party’s leader Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal ran a decidedly unsuccessful campaign for president, lost amid higher profile reformist candidates and massive voter fraud. The group had a very public falling-out with the Taliban in the mid-1990’s, but officials maintain that they are now secretly allies.

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