(ANTIWAR) Corrupt politicians and a bribery-centric economy has been the order of the day in US-occupied Afghanistan for many years. But that’s just the big cities, where the corruption is built into the political system. In more rural areas, things are even worse, though no less a function of US subsidies.
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Among the many recipients of US billions, Afghanistan’s spy agency, the National Directorate of Security (NDS) is awash in money from both the Pentagon and the CIA, with the usual lack of oversight that US aid seems to imply in this part of the world.
The NDS has plenty of problems of their own, but the real danger is that the NDS, in trying to “fight the Taliban” in areas less controlled by the government, bankrolls militias and warlords with US-provided funds. Indications are that the NDS doesn’t care how the job gets done, or realistically if it gets done.
Rather, the militia leaders seem free to run roughshod over the locals in this areas, using the NDS funding to gear up and extort even more from the local population, torturing anyone that resists, and killing any political rivals that get in the way.
Police say there is nothing they can realistically do about these groups, which are much larger and better equipped. Indeed, one official described a militia subsidized to be 500 strong, which is actually about 1,500 fighters now, in a district with 35 total police.
The warlord Perim Qul has run the district for about 13 years with the NDS imprimatur, and in April he killed the local provincial MP Aynuddin Rustaqi. Hundreds of his fighters surrounded the MP in a local government building, no security forces even tried to stop them.
Perim Qul was fairly honest about the matter, saying he’s not particularly interested in fighting the Taliban or ISIS, and that he will gladly fight alongside anyone that supports his battle against the Jamiat, which is the largest political party in the region.
The CIA declined comment on the matter, and the US-led coalition shrugged questions about the growing problem off, insisting Afghanistan is a “sovereign nation” and can do whatever they want domestically. That the US is occupying Afghanistan and bankrolling the government apparently doesn’t enter into it.
This article (US Funding Subsidizes Abusive Militias in Afghanistan) by Jason Ditz, originally appeared on AntiWar.com and was used with permission. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email firstname.lastname@example.org.