US-Supported Warlord Group in Afghanistan Faces Mounting Allegations of Abuse

The Afghan Local Police have been brutalizing ordinary Afghans and have failed to act as a bulwark against the Taliban

by John Glaser, August 30, 2012

Allegations of abuse, including rape and murder, by the US-supported Afghan Local Police (ALP) are mounting, as overall news of the failed war in Afghanistan overshadows Obama administration propaganda about accomplishments and coming withdrawal of US troops.

The latest such allegation against the ALP, essentially a group of warlords trained and armed by the US, includes breaking into a home in search of a man to settle a land dispute, beating the man’s son and murdering his 17-year old daughter Fahima.

“She was in her first days as an eleventh grade student,” said Fahima’s father, Khuja. “Offenders are still serving as local policemen and they are free. Police say the killer has escaped but he’s walking in public with his gun and no one is able to catch him.”

The Afghan Local Police was created in July 2010 as a bulwark against the Taliban. In March 2011, Petraeus told the Senate that the ALP is “arguably the most critical element in our effort to help Afghanistan develop the capacity to secure itself.”

But the ALP have been using US support to assert their authority and commit severe crimes against Afghan civilians. A Human Rights Watch report from last September “documents serious abuses, such as killings, rape, arbitrary detention, abductions, forcible land grabs, and illegal raids by irregular armed groups in northern Kunduz province and the Afghan Local Police (ALP).”

The ALP has been accused of “beating teenage boys and hammering nails into the feet of one boy,” although no arrests were made. “In April,” the report documents, “four armed ALP members in Baghlan abducted a 13-year-old boy on his way home from the bazaar and took him to the house of an ALP sub-commander, where he was gang raped.” The perpetrators are well known, but no arrests have been made.

The ALP has raided several houses, stolen personal belongings, beat residents, and illegally detained a number of Afghans. Like in the other cases though, no arrests or investigations have been initiated because of the militias’ patronage links to senior Afghan officials.

The fact that Obama uses taxpayer money to fund, arm, and train militias widely accused of human rights abuses is bad enough. But the policy is also sowing the seeds of further chaos and potential civil war once the US finally decides to leave.

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