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‘The Enemy Kills Us Like Sheep’: Voices of the Afghan Security Forces

Distrusting the leadership

Second Lt. Najeebullah Khan, 32
Afghan National Police, Helmand Province

“Our leaders, they are the bane of our existence. If they cared about the police, we would not have such misery in our lives. We have lost everything: friends, relatives and homes. We have been asking our leaders for help, but they keep pushing us into useless fighting without support.”

Second Lt. Abdul Matin, 35 Afghan National Army, Uruzgan Province

“The problem is that there is no strong backing from our superiors. When you are in danger and need urgent support but there is no backup and your fellow soldiers are dying before you and you are powerless to save them, this hurts. It makes you frustrated. This is one of the main reasons that the soldiers are surrendering to the Taliban: They have no support when they need it.”

Sergeant Sharefi

“We are committed to our job but we are not happy with our leaders. They don’t really care for the soldiers when we are in trouble. They don’t help to solve our problems. When we need help during a battle, we don’t get it quick enough. Also, we do not have proper time off. Only after six months, sometimes even one year, we get a chance for leave. We are human beings, we get tired and need to visit our relatives, but they delay our days off.”

Sgt. Musa Khan, 30 Afghan National Police, Kandahar Province

“We relied on Gen. Abdul Raziq, the police chief of Kandahar who was killed last year. He was the best. But we are not happy with the other leaders who are in Kabul or elsewhere, they do not care about the condition of police. You know police are fighting on the front line, and they have been sacrificing more than any of the other security forces in Afghanistan. But we are always left in danger. Sometimes we run out of bullets and the enemy kills us like sheep.”

Taliban Tactics

Sergeant Sharefi

“The insider attacks are really bad and they degrade our value and trust in the army and how the world sees us. It also creates an environment of distrust. You suspect your comrades and it’s hard to find a trusted buddy unless you’ve known him for a long time.”

Lieutenant Khan

“I remember a commander who was based in Gershek. He was a good friend of mine, and a brave guy. He always fought the Taliban. But the Taliban sent him a young guy who was an infiltrator. My friend was unaware and allowed him to stay with him. After a few months, the guy poisoned my friend and his men, and then invited the Taliban to kill them all.”

Source: NYT > World News

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