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Afghan police accused of corruption and child abuse
BBC News

Most police forces investigate crimes like corruption, kidnapping, drug use, murder and child abuse. But in Sangin - the most violent district in Afghanistan - these are crimes that some of the police commit.

When they did go out, what the marines saw was far from encouraging. At one checkpoint, the Afghan police were openly smoking marijuana. Two other police officers, assigned to fill sandbags to fortify a watchtower, were high on something stronger - probably opium or heroin. When one of the police commanders was shot, three weeks after I left, the American medics who saved him found a bag of heroin in his pocket.

But there are issues Major Steuber said need to be tackled head-on - including the sexual abuse of young boys by local police commanders. On every police base I visited in Sangin, there were young boys: some were armed, and some looked like servants. They are known as "chai boys".

Sangin Deputy Police Chief Qhattab Khan admitted this abuse is taking place, and promised to take action. He told Major Steuber: "The kids themselves want to stay at the patrol bases and give their bodies at night… There is no humanity. There is no military command".

This is what we are spending American lives and treasure on. Drug addicted, mobsters with a taste for little boys more blatant than the Catholic Church. Young boys they murder if they try to escape. This is what George Bush, and yes, Barack Obama have made us accessories to.

And before I get any grief from Obama apologists, answer me one question: Would YOU support a regime that did this? If your answer is "yes', then, by all means, scream away at me.

We may not be able to stop this kind of thing from happening, but we sure as Hell should not be facilitating it.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Just can't get into this diary (3+ / 0-)

    It threw me when I saw the references to personal drug use called a "crime" and mixed in there with offenses such as kidnapping, murder and child abuse.    And, the diary starts off with the horrible crime that someone was seen smoking pot?    The ridiculousness of it distracts from the serious nature of what you are trying to address.

    The designation of personal drug use as a "crime" is a lot more problematic than designation of acts of aggression against other persons as a crime.    There's just no equivalence between smoking a joint and murder.

    By the way, you DO support a regime that does this.  Check out the stories of Abu Ghraib, the victims of which were sometimes children.    

    •  Actually, I was referring to heroin (0+ / 0-)

      And while I may give a pass on personal drug use, drug use (especially heroin) by policeman, on duty, why handling automatic weapons is a bit much.

      I am well aware of Abu Ghraib, and I sure as hell didn't like being made an accessory to that either.

      •  This line (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        exlrrp, DFWmom, jabney, RMForbes
        openly smoking marijuana
        makes this entire piece worthless propaganda.

        We are just letting you know.

        "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

        by Horace Boothroyd III on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 06:36:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I saw the film (0+ / 0-)

        The BBC article was based on yesterday's edition of the major BBC One documentary strand "Panorama".

        Remember, these were local Afghan police who replaced British soldiers who took and built the different command posts and who have been selling off the reinforcements in the protective walls for scrap metal (thus making it impossible for a US patrol to overnight there as planned).

        No matter what you think of the rights and wrongs of smoking dope for personal use, would you find it acceptable for one of your local police to be so stoned at a precinct meeting that he was zoning out asleep, in front of a large pot plant being grown in the precinct grounds?

        These guys are above all corrupt and in the thrall of local "politicians" (read warlords). That particular post had four prisoners who had been brought in the night before by a local politician. They were not charged with anything, indeed the only reason given by the police was that they were relatives of Taliban. In fact they were being held, without food or water in a sandbagged-up room, in order to be exchanged by the politician whose brother had been kidnapped. THE FOLLOWING DAY, the US patrol returned to find they had still not been given water and, when their back was turned, the police sneaked them out in the back of a pickup. Four days later they were reported to have been exchanged.

        Looking round the compound the US marine in charge of the patrol/advisory group pointed out a couple of dozen wrecked police vehicles yet every one was still on the manifest for the location which continued to get the full fuel allowance to run them. The police regularly sell weapons and ammunition in the local markets.

        Deputy Police Chief Qhattab Khan agreed to a series of raids (after much persuasion) so that the chai boys could be rescued. Instead of organizing the details, he promptly left on leave without making any plans at all. Senior police officers were often nowhere to be found or those who were on duty were known to be corrupt and abusive.

        This corruption started before the war when Bush effectively purchased the country by paying of the Northern Alliance warlords. The corruption goes from the top to the bottom of the Afghan administration. In fact, I was left with the impression that the best outcome would be for the US and allies to negotiate a separate peace with the Taliban and allow them to retake the country to drive out these incompetent, corrupt and hateful cronies of Bush.  

        "Who stood against President Obama in 2012?" - The trivia question nobody can answer.

        by Lib Dem FoP on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 09:00:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  When Ahmad Massoud was killed, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    exlrrp, shaharazade

    the hope for a successful post-Taliban Afghanistan died with him.  He was the one man that had the best chance of uniting Afghanistan.  Which is, of course, the reason why Al Qaeda assassinated him just before 9/11.  They knew this as well.

    The Karzai family is worse than any criminal organization ever seen in America.  We gotta get the hell out of there.

    Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

    by bigtimecynic on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 06:21:05 AM PST

  •  Oh no. (3+ / 0-)

    They're smoking marijuana. And so what?

    •  Well, there is at least a smidgeon of (0+ / 0-)

      hypocrisy if we financially support that type of thing over there and criminalize it at home.

      At least wrt drones, we're more consistent - they're good both over there and increasingly right here at home!

  •  Drug use is the last of my worries (0+ / 0-)

    If it's at the top of your list, you can console yourself with the notion that in a hundred years or so, there will probably be very little drug use, as most of humanity will be dead due to a ravaged planet.

    if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 08:21:28 AM PST

    •  I just quoted from the story (0+ / 0-)

      I didn't arrange the order.

      I DO NOT GIVE A FLY FUCK if people want to smoke whatever, or even shoot heroin. I am totally in favor of legalizing ALL drugs.

      However, folks posting here seem willing to excuse everything else that happens in the story because they don't like one passage.

      I guess the child rape in the Catholic Church wouldn't have been a big deal if only the priests had been high while doing it.

      The point of the story was not that people were openly smoking marijuana, the point was that POLICEMEN, handling AUTOMATIC WEAPONS, making LIFE or DEATH COMBAT decisions were openly smoking marijuana WHILE ON DUTY. If this is OK with folks, then I guess drinking on duty would be OK as well.

      •  Umm... (0+ / 0-)
        the point was that POLICEMEN, handling AUTOMATIC WEAPONS, making LIFE or DEATH COMBAT decisions were openly smoking marijuana WHILE ON DUTY.
        Replace the word "policemen" with the word "soldier", and the statement would be true of every armed conflict anywhere in the world for at least the last forty years.

        Not really very shocking at all.

      •  I don't excuse *anything* else (0+ / 0-)

        and I've been against the war in Afghanistan for a long time. Not from the beginning, to my shame. I initially thought it was a good idea to go in there after Bin Laden. An ugly, costly idea, but a good idea.

        I should have known it was just a pretext for any number of other things.

        if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 09:47:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  You should have seen Viet Nam (0+ / 0-)

        Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

        by RMForbes on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 10:13:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Summation (0+ / 0-)

    This is Ben Anderson, the award winning reporter who filmed the story, at the end of the piece linked above. I think the line I emphasize says it all:

    But from what I saw, corruption and criminality are widespread among the police in Sangin. This is exactly the kind of behaviour that led many Afghans to welcome the Taliban when they swept to power in 1996. Is this what all the fighting and bloodshed has been for?
    PS, to correct slightly what I wrote above, the deputy chief of police for the province did not only go on leave without making any arrangements to raid the worst outposts; he retired.

    "Who stood against President Obama in 2012?" - The trivia question nobody can answer.

    by Lib Dem FoP on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 09:35:24 AM PST

    •  nation building (0+ / 0-)

      This is exactly why introducing democracy too early can lead to disaster, but if we're not committed to several generations of colonialism and nation bulding, investing in schools, and enforcing our beliefs about human rights and governance on the population, how do we make them do what we want them to do?

      •  Self determination? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DFWmom

        I happen to agree with your general principle that if one country colonizes another in the name of an arbitrary concept such as a "war on terror" or an imperial project, they are duty bound to leave it in a better position.  You are exactly right in describing the problem of relieving oneself of the "White Man's Burden".

        One of the difficulties in de-colonization in the 1950s and 1960s was that manifestly some countries in the British Empire were absolutely ready for self-government and, after 100 years or more of colonization the concepts of democracy were well established. On the other hand, in some countries like Uganda and Nigeria tribal and religious differences among the population of an artificial construct were almost bound to lead to civil war and conflict.  (As a Briton, I am torn between regarding decolonization as a generally good thing and these situation where many suffered as a result of moving too soon to independence - at it must be said the insistence of the USA).

        Afghanistan has almost always been a "basket case". The sole unifying factor was the King, partly as a result of the crown's ability to unify the tribal factions. Yet in 2004 the USA prevented the Loya Jurga from inviting the last king to resume the throne despite it being under him that Afghanistan went through a period of (relative) peace, prosperity and advancement during which women and girls were able to get education and attend university.

        "Who stood against President Obama in 2012?" - The trivia question nobody can answer.

        by Lib Dem FoP on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 11:08:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Well, we have to dismiss this reporter's (0+ / 0-)

      credentials according to some posters, as he wrote a story that cast the smoking weed as bad.

      I swear, some of these posts make me despair for humanity.

  •  Colonialism / Imperialism (0+ / 0-)

    The history of how one changes the culture of a country is an interesting one.   Consider how the English came into the United States and decided to tame the Savages, with smallpox blankets, and the trail of tears.  There is a long history of taking Native American children from reservations and fostering them with English families, for instance.  

    When England tried to do it with Ireland, forcing the kids in the schools to speak English and beat them when they refused, and committing various atrocities in the name or "civilizing" them, they eventually ended up with the Irish Republican Army, and a conflict that would not end.

    So, how do we teach our version of manners, human rights, professionalism, etc., to the people in Afghanistan?   I don't believe it's going to be easy, and I don't think we'll get it done very quickly, and we'll have to decide what to do in the meantime about our *military" objective, which is why we're there in the first place.

    Which is exactly what's happening.

    I'm sure that we'd rather that they have our own human rights standards, and if they'd been raised like we were raised, in the culture we were raised in, maybe they would.  But, they weren't.    Nevertheless, they are who they are, and that's who we have to deal with, right now, warts and all.  

    I'm sure we'll pressure their leadership, and there will be a few cosmetic changes, and the underlying problems will remain.   We've never gotten rid of drug abuse, sex slavery, corruption, abuse of power, etc. in our own country, although we've improved the situation somewhat.    Rome wasn't built in a day.

    It's their country, and if we press them too hard, we end up with something like Vietnam, where we can't win.

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