Tuesday, October 22, 2013

High-Level Afghan Commander Defects To Taliban

As foreign troops in Afghanistan start leaving, and the Taliban continues to be as violent as ever, it looks like people are jumping ship to join forces with those they probably feel will eventually prevail. It's been happening for a while and no doubt will continue. Aside from the numerous occasions when Afghan police have turned on fellow fighters, both local and foreign, and others have defected en masse, we have former senator and district governor in Sar-e-Pol- Qazi Abdul Hai- who with two bodyguards joined the Taliban back in September, although rumor has it he always had links to members.

Now we have an army commander, Monsif Khan, who has just done the same thing in Kunar province, but this time Khan joined with the militant anti-government group Hezb-e-Islami fighting with the Taliban.  He took advantage of Eid al-Adha  to steal a bunch of weapons and ammunition.

Of course, it's hard to tell if these people were actually always tied to the Taliban, and are just returning to the fold, albeit a little later than others did.  Back in 2005, the Brits backed the Peace and Reconciliation  programme, NATO  thought that by offering money, status and other perks to Taliban 'foot soldiers', they'd willingly lay down their weapons and reintegrate into Afghanistan society. They thought they could, in essence, bribe the Taliban to give up the good fight. Granted some did, for a short period of time, but it didn't last long when they realized the so-called promises of cash and prestige were not soon forthcoming. With their patience run dry, some were back out in the field with their buddies blowing up innocent civilians and poisoning girls' schools.

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