* The result of training, arming and paying the soldiers of Allah in the (misguided belief) they can somehow become trusted ‘allies’
KABUL, Afghanistan:Â An Afghan policeman hurled a grenade and opened fire on a U.S. military foot patrol in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, killing an American soldier and raising fears that insurgents have infiltrated the police.
It was the second attack by a policeman on U.S. soldiers in eastern Afghanistan in less than a month.
The patrol was returning to a base in Bermel district of Paktika province when they were attacked by the policeman, who was standing on a tower, the military said. The soldiers returned fire, killing the officer.
Training of the police force and the Afghan national army are key elements in the U.S. strategy of dealing with a vicious Taliban-led insurgency that has spread in many parts of the country.
Militants in Afghanistan have in the past disguised themselves in police or army uniforms when attacking Afghan and foreign troops, but real policemen were responsible for the attacks Thursday and last month. Then, an officer opened fire at a Paktika police station, killing a soldier and wounding three before he was fatally shot.
The two provinces with similar names are both close to the lawless Pakistani border area and are the site of nearly daily clashes between insurgents and American troops.
Assadullah Sherzad, the police chief of Helmand province in southern Afghanistan, said an airstrike by foreign forces Thursday killed a number of people including several women and children. He said he did not know the overall death toll.
Haji Adnan Khan, a tribal leader in the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah, said he saw 18 bodies that angry villagers had taken to the steps of the governor’s house. He said there might be more bodies trapped under the rubble.
An Associated Press photograph shows what appears to be at least seven bodies completely wrapped in blankets in the back of a truck.
NATO-led troops said in a statement that they were aware of an airstrike Thursday in Nad Ali district but are “are unable to confirm any civilian casualties.”
Insurgents kept up their assault Thursday on Lashkar Gah. They fired a rocket that landed on a street lined with shops, killing a civilian and wounding five others, said Daud Ahmadi, the spokesman for the provincial governor.
The attack followed two other assaults this week on the security checkpoints that ring the city. More than 80 militants were killed and three police were wounded.
The attacks on the city, the capital of the world’s largest opium producing region, appears to signal the Taliban’s intention to disrupt a major government center.
Large-scale Taliban attacks on major Afghan towns have been rare since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion. Fighting typically takes place in small villages and rural areas.
The issue of civilian casualties at the hands of foreign troops has caused friction between President Hamid Karzai and his U.S. and other Western backers. Karzai has for years warned the U.S. and NATO that it must stop killing civilians in its bombing runs, saying such deaths undermine his government and the international mission.
The Afghan government says 90 civilians were killed during a U.S. special forces raid in a village in the western Herat province on Aug. 22.
A U.S. military investigation found that 33 civilians died in the raid, and concluded that the troops involved acted in line with their rules of engagement.
Insurgency-related violence has killed more than 4,800 people Â— mostly militants Â— this year, according to an Associated Press count of figures from Western and Afghan officials.
Meanwhile, Germany’s parliament granted final approval Thursday to an extension of the country’s military mission in Afghanistan for 14 more months and allow for the immediate deployment of an additional 1,000 troops.
A U.S.-led coalition member was killed and several others were wounded also in eastern Afghanistan after “a possible errant mortar round” aimed for insurgents hit their patrol, the U.S. military said. The statement did not say where it happened.
Associated Press writers Amir Shah in Kabul and Noor Khan in Kandahar contributed to this report.
Living under the Taliban –-Â and loving it
“But we don’t burn or close down schools if they are in accord with Islam.” Not that this has anything to do with Islam, of course. The Taliban is setting up Sharia courts and ruling according to Islamic law, and Western Islamic apologists (and angry, arrogant, and self-righteous MSA college students) would have us believe that they are all Misunderstanders of Islam.
“Some Afghans live under Taliban rule â€“ and prefer it: In provinces just south of Kabul, the insurgents have a shadow government that polices roads and runs courts,” by Anand Gopal for theÂ Christian Science Monitor, October 15 (thanks to Jeffrey Imm):
Porak, Afghanistan – After a gang of thieves had continually terrorized an Afghan neighborhood near here months ago, locals decided they’d had enough. “We complained several times to the government and even showed them where the thieves lived,” says Ahmad, who goes by one name.But the bandits continued to operate freely. So the villagers turned to the Taliban.
The militants’ parallel government here in Logar Province â€“ less than 40 miles from Kabul, the capital â€“ tried and convicted the men, tarred their faces, paraded them around, andÂ threatened to chop off their handsÂ if they were caught stealing in the future. The thieves never bothered the locals again.
Amputation for theft is mandated by Qur’an 5:38.
In several provinces close to Kabul, the government’s presence is vanishing or already nonexistent, residents say. In its place, a more effective â€“ and brutal â€“ Taliban shadow government is spreading and winning local support.”The police are just for show,” one local says. “The Taliban are the real power here.”…
When President Hamid Karzai’s government first took power in 2001, “authorities gave every family in Logar two kilos of food,” says a local resident who works with an international nongovernmental organization and identifies himself as Abdel Qabir. “When that ran out each family received $200 assistance. But that, too, ran out, and people had no money and there were criminals everywhere.
“So people turned to the Taliban,” Mr. Qabir continues. “They may not provide jobs, but at least they share the same culture and brought security.”…
An Islamic scholar heads the judicial committee of each district under Taliban control and usually appoints two judges to try cases using a strict interpretation of sharia law, according to locals and Taliban members. “We prefer these courts to the government courts,” says Fazel Wali of Ghazni city, an NGO worker. Taliban courts have a reputation of working much faster than government ones, which often take months to decide cases and are saddled with corruption, he says….
Abdul Hakim, a Taliban “Emir of Education and Culture” in Ghazni Province, says his group checks all schoolbooks to ensure that they adhere to their version of sharia law. “We want to ensure that our youth are trained in Islamic education,” he explains. “First, they should learn sharia law and religious studies. Then comes science and other subjects….Â But we don’t burn or close down schools if they are in accord with Islam.”
However, locals say that the number of schools in Taliban-controlled territory is dwindling fast. Of the 1,100 schools operating three years ago in Ghazni, only 100 are left, according to the Ministry of Education. Almost no girls’ schools remain, except nearly a dozen in the government-controlled provincial center.
The group also brings its austere interpretation of Islam to the areas they control, banning nonreligious music and flashy wedding parties. In Logar, guards at Taliban checkpoints regularly stop vehicles and beat drivers playing music….
“We have no TV. We can’t listen to music. We don’t have parties,” says Abdul Halim of Ghazni Province, who, like others in the area, is a Taliban supporter. “But at least we have security and justice.”
Justice, you say?