Showing posts with label warlords. Show all posts
Showing posts with label warlords. Show all posts

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Dostum - "PhD in Killing Militants"

Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum (former warlord, communist, anti-communist, government minister, general, powerbroker, mujihadeen, etc.) is mobilizing supporters across northern Afghanistan (especially Faryab province where a significant Uzbek population is found) in the fight against armed militants (Taliban and others). The former general holds no formal military post but has great influence among many armed militias across northern Afghanistan. He has formed a temporary alliance with a life-long enemy - Atta Mohammad Noor - the powerful governor of Balkh province. Periodically he ventures into northern Afghanistan to lead 'offensives' against militants. Read more in "Afghanistan's Dostum unites friends, foes in anti-Taliban fight", by Anuj Chopra, Yahoo! News, November 21, 2015.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Balkh PGov: Strongman of North Afghanistan

Governor Atta Mohammad Noor, the Provincial Governor (PGov) of Balkh province has been in his position for over ten years when he was first appointed by President Karzai. Atta is a former school teacher, turned mujahedeen fighter, turned warlord, and now governor. He has many supporters who say he has brought economic prosperity and security to Balkh province and the large city of Mazar-e Sharif. His critics say that political freedom is at a minimum, he is corrupt, manages a massive criminal patronage network, is suspected of human rights abuses, has his own private militias, and is just a powerful warlord appointed to a governorship. The international Coalition, in the past Regional Command North or RC-North, and now Train Advise, Assist Command - North (TAAC North) recognize the governor for who he is - a rich, powerful, influential governor with a firm grasp of the political, economic, criminal, and security environment. I spent many months at Camp Marmel (where the regional command for ISAF was headquartered) and it was apparent that the most powerful figure in northern Afghanistan was Noor. His information (intelligence network) is widespread and effective and he has good control over the police in his province. Read more in "Afghanistan's defining fight: Technocrats vs. strongmen", The Washington Post, April 12, 2015.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

HRW to be Sued by Afghan Warlord

The international organization "Human Rights Watch" (HRW) has been threatened by a strongman from northern Afghanistan. The Governor of Balkh province, Atta Mohammad Noor, has threatened to sue HRW over its latest report which accused him of controlling and funding local militias implicated in serious rights abuses. The HRW report profiles eight Afghan warlords suspected of human rights violations. Read more in "Afghan Warlord Threatens to Sue Human Rights Watch", Gandhara Blog, March 9, 2015.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

HRW - Report on "Strongmen"

The Human Rights Watch organization has released a report entitled "Today We Shall All Die: Afghanistan's Strongmen and the Legacy of Impunity". The report is 96 pages and
" . . . profiles eight "strongmen" linked to police, intelligence, and militia forces responsible for serious abuses in recent years. The report documents emblematic incidents that reflect longstanding patterns of violence for which victims obtained no official redress. The impunity enjoyed by powerful figures raises serious concerns about Afghan government and international efforts to arm, train, vet, and hold accountable Afghan National Police units, National Directorate of Security officials, and Afghan Local Police forces."
You can read the Human Rights Watch press release here - "Afghanistan: Abusive Strongmen Escape Justice", March 3, 2015. You can read online or download the report here. Read additional news reports about the warlords of Afghanistan.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Gen Raziq: Hero or Liability?

General Raziq, the Provincial Chief of Police (PCoP) of Kandahar province is also the "King of Kandahar". He is one of the most popular yet despised men in Afghanistan. Some say he rules Kandahar with an iron fist. He enjoys great support from the Americans (especially SOF). As much as he is good for the security of the province he also detracts from the pursuit of just governance. He is associated with the drug trade and controls the borders - extracting much of the customs revenue for his own purposes. It remains to be seen how President Ghani handles this warlord. Does he keep Kandahar secure by keeping Raziq on or does he push for a just and ethical provincial government risking the gains in security made thus far? Read more in "General Raziq Hero or President Ghani's liability", Khaama Press, January 1, 2015.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Ghor Province: A Warlord Domain

An Institute for War & Peace Reporting (IWPR) investigation has found that Ghor province in western Afghanistan is in the grip of about 40 warlords backed by thousands of paramilitaries. The armed groups carry out crimes with no threat of punishment by the government or police. The total of militia members is about 8 to 10 thousand; with each group ranging in size from 200 to 1,200 men. Many of the groups are leftovers from the civil war period between the Communist regime and the Taliban regime. The various militias compete for control of geographical areas as well as sectors of the economy and criminal activities (drug trade especially). Some militias have instituted their own legal system to replace a corrupt judicial system in place by the government. Read more in "Afghanistan: Lords of Ghor", Institute for War & Peace Reporting, December 10, 2014.

Monday, November 10, 2014

General Abdul Raziq

Kandahar is much safer now than several years ago. At one time the Taliban reigned supreme in the streets. But an Afghan police official (some say warlord) has tamed the city to an acceptable level. This security comes at a cost - in corruption, human rights, and governance. The police chief, Lt. Gen. Abdul Raziq, has ensured a degree of security within the city and some of the surrounding areas; however, some of his actions (and those of his police and private security force) are fueling the insurgency at the same time. Read more in "Powerful Afghan Police Chief Puts Fear in Taliban and Their Enemies", The New York Times, November 8, 2014.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Afghan Warlords and Democracy

A recent article provides us with an alternative and "kinder" view of warlords in Afghanistan. The author refers to the interaction of warlords within Afghanistan's political environment as "Warlord-Democracy Nexus" - a transition of warlords from fighters to politicians. The author shows us that the warlords provided a useful function in the early formation of the Afghan state post-2001. These warlords, typically based on regional and ethnic lines, provided support to the early Karzai regime. Afghanistan is a country used to de-centralized power and regional power brokers; early support from these regional power brokers ensured the weak central government could survive. One example provided is the warlord Rashid Dostum, who was chosen by President Ghani to be one of his vice-presidents. Dostum is an Uzbek warlord from northern Afghanistan who has wielded power of great importance over the past twenty years. Read more in "Afghanistan: Warlords and Democracy", The Diplomat, October 26, 2014.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Commander Pigeon - Female Warlord in Afghanistan

Here is an interesting story about a female Afghan warlord - Commander Pigeon. Read "My Terrifying Night With Afghanistan's Only Female Warlord", by Jen Percy, New Republic, October 13, 2014.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Afghan Warlords and the Election

There are eleven presidential candidates in the Afghan elections for president to be held this April. Among the presidential and their vice-presidential candidates are a number of famous warlords from Afghanistan's past. General Dostum is perhaps the best known among the vice-presidential candidates. Read all about them in "Warlords With Dark Pasts Battle in Afghan Election", The New York Times, February 26, 2014.

Friday, February 21, 2014

LTG Anderson (IJC Cdr) and His Good Buddy Abdul Raziq

The newly arrived ISAF Joint Command (IJC) commander LTG Joseph Anderson was recently photographed with a 'colorful' personality in Kandahar province  - Abdul Raziq. Raziq is the Provincial Chief of Police (PCoP) for Kandahar - and is also suspected by many to be a warlord with strong ties to drug smuggling, corruption, and other illicit activities. Major General Raziq started out as a militia leader in Spin Boldak in southern Kandahar along the Pakistan border. Read more in "US general criticised over photo-op with Afghan cop accused of human rights abuses", The Telegraph, February 20, 2014. (U.S. Army photo by SGT Antony S. Lee, ISAF RC South, Feb 11, 2014).

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Brief Introduction to Prime Movers in Afghan Elections

 A recent online post provides us with pictures and a brief bio of the prime movers in the upcoming April 2014 presidential elections that will be held in Afghanistan. Some of the more colorful presidential candidates are presented along with a few of the vice-presidential candidates. Read more in "Afghanistan's Future: Who's Who in Pivotal Presidential Election", NBC News, February 9, 2014.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Abdul Rab Rasoul Sayyaf - Potential President

A former warlord, Abdul Rab Rasoul Sayyaf, could very well be the next president of Afghanistan after the April 2014 Afghan elections. He comes with a certain amount of baggage - human rights abuses (the Hazaras are not fond of him), associations with terrorist organizations, and he is an Islamic hardliner. However, as the leader of a Pashtun party that is very anti-Taliban he enjoys a lot of support politically within Afghanistan. He is famous as a jihadi leader of a Pashtun militia against the Russians during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s. Read more in "Former warlord launches campaign to succeed Karzai", The Washington Post, February 7, 2014.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Afghan Warlord Ismail Khan Escapes Assassination

An assassination attempt by a suicide bomber against the warlord Ismail Khan failed. This is not the first time that the 'elder statesman' from western Afghanistan has escaped death by suicide bomber. Ismail Khan is a former minister for water and energy and is currently running in the 2014 Afghan elections as one of two vice presidents with presidential candidate Abdul Rab Rasoul Sayyaf (also a former warlord). Rad more in "Afghan ex-minister escapes assassination attempt", Bloomberg Businessweek News, January 24, 2104.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Abdul Raziq - Warlord of Spin Boldak, Afghanistan

Abdul Raziq has been described in various ways.  Some refer to him as a warlord and others think of him as a patriotic Afghan fighter.  The truth is somewhere in the middle no doubt.  He is the most powerful man in Spin Boldak and a firm ally of the NATO forces trying to root out the Taliban.  Read more on this colorful character.

"NATO bullish, Canadians wary of Afghan warlord Raziq", CTV News, December 27, 2010.

"The master of spin Boldak", Harper's Magazine, December 2009.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Australians Wonder About Matiullah Khan of Oruzgan Province

Australians are questioning its armed forces involvement with a warlord called Matiullah Khan in Afghanistan.  Read more in "Cultural norms in Afghanistan", Brisbane Times, October 31, 2010.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

U.S. Security Contractor Money Went to Warlords and Taliban

A Senate report is highly critical of the management of the money that the U.S. military exercises control over for the payment of security services in Afghanistan.  The Senate report states that much of the money ends up in the hands or warlords, strongmen, and in some cases the Taliban.  Read more in "Senate report: Mismanaged U.S. contractor money aids enemy in Afghanistan", The Washington Post, October 8, 2010.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Abdul Razziq - An Afghan Border Police Colonel Keeping Spin Boldak, Afghanistan Quiet - In a Corrupt Way

A war correspondent, Rajiv Chandresekarar of The Washington Post, has provided us with a somewhat complimentary view of a corrupt Colonel in the Afghan Border Police (ABP).  Col Abdul Razziq is in command of 3,000 uniformed policemen and several thousand militiamen in the south of Afghanistan headquartered in Spin Boldak.  Col Razziq is extremely corrupt yet very efficient when it comes to providing security and chasing the Taliban.

Accusations against him include supporting the Karzai family with proceeds taking from cross-border tariffs of goods coming in from Pakistan, rigging ballot boxes in two past elections to ensure Karzai and his cronies get elected, involvement in the drug trade, and paying bribes to ensure his position of power does not diminish.

Coalition leaders seem perplexed on what to do with Razziq.  While he stands for everything that is bad about the corrupt Afghan government he is one of the few officials within the government that actually gets anything done. U.S. Army Special Forces are reported to enjoy a good relationship with him.  So for the time being he stays in place and in power.

Read the rest of the article in "The Afghan Robin Hood", The Washington Post, October 4, 2010.