AFGHAN'S DEATH AT U.S. OUTPOST
- View SourceAFGHAN MAN'S DEATH AT U.S. OUTPOST IS INVESTIGATED
Carlotta Gall, New York Times, 7/5/04
ERESHK, Afghanistan - The American military is investigating the
death in November of an Afghan man held in detention at an American
military outpost here in southern Afghanistan.
There are now five deaths of Afghans in American detention that the
military is investigating.
The family of the dead man, Abdul Wahed, 28, charge that the Afghan
commander of security at the base was responsible for his torture and
death, and various local authorities back that account.
The Americans do not say whether their investigation is focusing on
the Afghan commander, Daoud Muhammad Khan, who is a figure about town
and can be seen leading operations from the base.
American military spokesmen confirm that Mr. Wahed died on Nov. 6 at
the base here. Some 70 American Special Forces soldiers at the base
live within a perimeter of six bunkerlike positions maintained by an
Afghan militia force, who serve under murky lines of authority.
The American military has given few other details of the death...
ISRAELI MIGHT HAVE WORKED AT ABU GHRAIB
Associated Press, 7/3/04
The American general formerly in charge of Abu Ghraib prison says
there are signs Israelis were involved in interrogating Iraqi
detainees at another facility.
Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, who was suspended in May over allegations
of prisoner abuse, said she met a man who told her he was Israeli
during a visit to a Baghdad intelligence center with a senior
"I saw an individual there that I hadn't had the opportunity to meet
before, and I asked him what did he do there, was he an interpreter -
he was clearly from the Middle East," Karpinski told British
Broadcasting Corp. radio in an interview broadcast Saturday. "He
said, 'Well I do some of the interrogation here. I speak Arabic but
I'm not an Arab; I'm from Israel.'
"I was really kind of surprised by that ... He didn't elaborate any
more than to say he was working with them and there were people from
lots of different places that were involved in the operation,"
Israel's Foreign Ministry told the BBC that reports of Israeli troops
or interrogators in Iraq were "completely untrue." Israeli officials
could not immediately be reached by The Associated Press.
The U.S. military has used private contract workers in the
interrogations along with military personnel.
The presence of Israeli forces in Iraq would inflame opinion in the
Muslim world, where many compare the abuse of prisoners by U.S.
forces to Israel's treatment of Palestinian detainees...
High-risk bid to register Afghans
On a violent trip through Afghanistan, a UN team urges Taliban
tribesmen to vote in fall elections. By Gretchen Peters
July 06, 2004 edition
ROCK THE VOTE: Pro-Taliban tribesmen in Tirwa District, Paktika
Province, Afghanistan, listened to Sebastien Trives of the United
Nations, as he argued that they should break from the hard-line
regime and take part in elections planned for this fall.
High-risk bid to register Afghans
UN team urges Taliban tribesmen to vote in fall elections.
By Gretchen Peters | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
GOMAL PASS, PAKTIKA, AFGHANISTAN The first RPG explosion sounds
like a car backfiring in the distance - a thud, then a gentle plume
of smoke. "Gulf One, No Fear Three Papa," barks Capt. Kelley Liztner
into his radio, calling for an Afghani governor's vehicle traveling
one mile ahead. "Have you been hit?"
The radio crackles: "Yes."
There's another burst, this time closer to the convoy inching through
a treacherous boulder-strewn pass.
The attackers had bided their time for this strike, waiting until the
group carrying UN and US State Department officials entered a perfect
kill zone: There's no place to hide at this crucial moment on an
eight-day journey in early June through Taliban country to persuade
local tribes to come under the central government umbrella.
In the end, Taliban forces fired 11 rocket-propelled grenades (RPG)
at the convoy. Incredibly, no one on either side appears to be
injured. For Mohammad Gulab Mangal, the new governor of troubled
Paktika province, it's just another battle in the long fight to lure
Taliban villagers in from the cold.
"Our enemies are afraid," he says. "They see us coming with a message
of peace and ... stability, and the only thing they can do is fire a
warning to people not to participate."
The Taliban have vowed to disrupt presidential and parliamentary
polls expected to take place in October. Three separate bomb attacks
in the eastern city of Jalalabad have killed six people, including
three women on June 26 working to register female voters. In southern
Uruzgan, meanwhile, the Taliban have brutally massacred more than a
dozen people after finding them with voter registration cards.
The spike in violence has led to the suspension of election and
reconstruction work across much of the country, leading some to argue
that elections must be delayed until spring, an eventuality President
Hamid Karzai calls unacceptable.
Since the fall of Afghanistan's Taliban government in the fall of
2001, the bulk of insurgent attacks against US and Afghan forces
and Afghan and international aid workers has taken place in the
southern part of the country. It is here that the Afghan tribes
especially those of Afghanistan's largest ethno-linguistic group, the
Pashtuns remain strongest. US-led military operations have since
pushed many Taliban fighters and other insurgents across the
border into Pashtun areas of northwestern Pakistan, where Pakistani
forces have launched a series of offensives against them.
Click on a number to see where top tribal leaders in the insurgency
Mullah Dadullah, the Taliban's top military commander, belongs to the
powerful Hotak tribe, which is prominent in Uruzgan Province. Mullah
Mohammad Omar, the supreme Taliban leader, is also a Hotak.
Mullah Bradar, the Taliban's former governor of Herat, is a member of
the Populzai tribe (Hamid Karzai's tribe). Mr. Bradar's support base
is found around Kandahar, and his fighters belong to the larger
Durrani tribe, of which the Populzais are the royal family.
Hafiz Majid, a top Taliban strategist, is an elder of the Achakzai, a
tribe known for preying on traders on the road between Kandahar and
Chaman, Pakistan. His base is in Kandahar Province, near the town of
Maruf, and he is thought to be responsible for most of the raids on
US forces and aid workers around Kandahar.
Saifullah Mansour is a respected elder in the Ghalji tribe, the
largest tribe in Afghanistan. His greatest support comes from the
Zurmat District of Paktia Province, site of Operation Anaconda in
2002. After Anaconda, he moved to the Pakistani tribal area of South
Waziristan, near the town of Wana, and is a top target of ongoing
Jalaluddin Haqqani is seen as the main bridge between Al Qaeda and
the Taliban. His support comes from his own Zadran tribe of Khost and
Paktia provinces, and from Zadrans at his new base near Miranshah in
the Pakistani tribal area of North Waziristan.
Mullah Rozi Khan, reportedly captured by US and Afghan forces in
early May, belongs to the powerful Ghiljee tribe based in Zabul
Province. Rozi Khan is blamed for most of the attacks on the Kabul-
Amid that backdrop, the "carrot and stick" mission Governor Mangal is
leading through hostile Paktika province - an area roughly the size
of Connecticut - is as complex and ambitious as it is risky.
The delegation comes bearing farm equipment for cooperative
districts. There are workers from Global Risk Strategies, a private
contractor working with the UN, to map out sites for voting and voter
The group also comes ready to protect itself. More than 300 US troops
from the 2nd Battalion of the 27th Infantry Regiment, Afghan
soldiers, and local police accompany the diplomats.
"We feel that working together we can tip the balance so that people
will participate in the national process, both in reconstruction and
in the election," says Sebastien Trives, the UN's architect of the
mission. "And every single person here has an important role to play."
It's not an easy journey. As the fleet snakes its way through
minefields and down spine-crunching roads, the convoy gets lost in
villages and mired in sand traps. On a recent segment of the journey,
most villages welcome the delegation in Pashtun fashion: performing
tribal dances, firing guns into the air, or charging across the
desert on brightly adorned horses.
Yet this is Taliban country, and at times the road is laid with land
mines rather than red carpet. "I think stability everywhere is
inevitable," said Lt. Col. Walter Piatt, the battalion commander, a
day after an improvised bomb exploded just five feet from his
vehicle. "It just can't happen overnight in every place."
The goal of the project is to win support of the local tribes, since
it's unlikely Taliban forces would dare go against decisions taken by
the tribal councils, who serve as the defacto government in these
remote and isolated areas.
"The Taliban also function inside this tribal tissue," says Mr.
Trives. "So after we leave their ability to undo our work is very
But getting the tribal councils on board can be arduous. They haggle
for hours over seemingly middling details. In some areas, they never
reach consensus and so the convoy moves on. The UN hopes to have
success in 50 percent of the districts they visit before elections
slated for this fall.
Critics wonder if it's worth it. Some argue the costs and risks of
such an operation in Taliban country hardly outweighs the payback of
winning over a few thousand villagers. There's concern that future
attacks on the mission might cause loss of life and intense
controversy within the UN over working so closely with the US
Yet supporters say if it works, the project promises to wrest large
swaths of Afghan territory from Taliban control. At the same time, it
brings the reconstruction this region badly needs.
For the UN and the Afghan government, the project also promises to
boost the legitimacy of the elections by increasing the numbers of
"We can not afford to let bureaucrats sitting in Kabul decide this is
too dangerous," says Trives. "We have a duty to be bold and to engage
For the US-led coalition, the mission also yields a wealth of
intelligence, identifying which leaders work closely with the Taliban
or Al Qaeda forces.
They also come across various clues as to how the enemy operates. "We
have an urgent need for weapons like mines and rockets," reads a
letter to a Pakistani extremist group found with a Taliban weapons
cache. "You need to send them with animals across the border using
the secret trails."
More importantly, the mission presents American soldiers as friends
not foes. "I thought I was coming here to kill Taliban," says Captain
Litzner, after a long day of mapping out aid projects with local
tribesmen. "But out here you figure out quickly that digging wells
and building schools is more effective than a bomb or an artillery
The litmus test will come later, when it becomes clear how many
villages in southern Paktika join the reconstruction process. Members
of the mission say they have little doubt their approach is the way
forward for Afghanistan and that denying the Taliban influence is the
best way to win the war against them.
Afghan Taliban Burn Trucks, Kidnap 12 Locals:
Suspected Taliban guerrillas attacked a convoy of trucks carrying
food for U.S. forces in a southern province and kidnapped 12 Afghan
drivers and workers, a provincial military commander said on
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