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US Acknowledges Afghan Security Forces They Trained Committing Abuse

(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Tracy J. Smith, 48th IBCT Public Affairs)

As we wind down the overt military phase of the Iraq war, I think this article carries some important knowledge. In Iraq as well as Afghanistan, the way out of the country has been to train native security forces to take over. We trained hundreds of thousands of security personnel in Iraq, and just as many in Afghanistan. And now, we’re learning that those security forces are actually abusing their own citizens:

Members of local police forces that the United States sees as vital to ending the Afghan war have committed human rights abuses, the U.S. military acknowledged in a report issued late Thursday.

The report summarized the findings of an investigation carried out in response to a Human Rights Watch probe that implicated members of Afghan Local Police, or ALP, units in killings, rapes, arbitrary detentions and land grabs.

Basically we’re returning Afghanistan to a state of tribal warfare and armed militia groups. But hey, we’re not involved anymore, so we can hold our heads up high in bringing the triumph of democracy to these “backward” nations!

It’s impossible to look at life on the ground in Iraq and not get the same impression about our relationship to that country. Our bestowing of democracy did not result in anything approaching a stable society. In fact, it stirred up sectarian tensions and caused a lot of needless suffering and death.

The NATO report gamely tried to claim that the Afghan Local Police provided a “vital service” to the country. Actually, perhaps they are. But you cannot deny that they’re also providing the same kind of power aggrandizement, bullying, threats, abuse, and yes, terror, that we’ve come to expect out of a paramilitary group. It makes you wonder who trained them that way.

CommunityThe Bullpen

US Acknowledges Afghan Security Forces They Trained Committing Abuse

As we wind down the overt military phase of the Iraq war, I think this article carries some important knowledge. In Iraq as well as Afghanistan, the way out of the country has been to train native security forces to take over. We trained hundreds of thousands of security personnel in Iraq, and just as many in Afghanistan. And now, we’re learning that those security forces are actually abusing their own citizens:

Members of local police forces that the United States sees as vital to ending the Afghan war have committed human rights abuses, the U.S. military acknowledged in a report issued late Thursday.

The report summarized the findings of an investigation carried out in response to a Human Rights Watch probe that implicated members of Afghan Local Police, or ALP, units in killings, rapes, arbitrary detentions and land grabs.

Basically we’re returning Afghanistan to a state of tribal warfare and armed militia groups. But hey, we’re not involved anymore, so we can hold our heads up high in bringing the triumph of democracy to these “backward” nations!

It’s impossible to look at life on the ground in Iraq and not get the same impression about our relationship to that country. Our bestowing of democracy did not result in anything approaching a stable society. In fact, it stirred up sectarian tensions and caused a lot of needless suffering and death.

The NATO report gamely tried to claim that the Afghan Local Police provided a “vital service” to the country. Actually, perhaps they are. But you cannot deny that they’re also providing the same kind of power aggrandizement, bullying, threats, abuse, and yes, terror, that we’ve come to expect out of a paramilitary group. It makes you wonder who trained them that way.

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David Dayen

David Dayen