In the 1980s the CIA armed and trained mujahideen fighters in Afghanistan during America’s cold war with Russia, and these Islamic militants went on to become al-Qaida, the premier terror threat to the US.
Several years ago, the Pentagon began supporting opposition forces in Syria, including a group known as the Salafists, to further the US goal of taking out the Assad government. The Pentagon expressed its desire for Islamic militants to establish a “declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria.” These violent fundamentalists morphed into ISIS, the current terror group spreading death and fear in the region and now across the world.
Back in Afghanistan, amid talk of US military “drawdowns,” the American military has nurtured one Afghan paramilitary group that is being accused of “civilian killings, torture, questionable detentions, arbitrary arrests and use of excessive force in controversial night raids.”
The Khost Protection Force (KPF) is a highly secretive collection of local Afghans used to fight a shadow war in eastern Afghanistan, near the Pakistani tribal region and Taliban stronghold. They were lured into the proxy service of the CIA with promises of better pay, equipment and conditions than the Afghan army. And just like the CIA, they enjoy virtual immunity.
“In Khost, the KPF is more influential than the Afghan army and police, and unaccountable to the provincial government, often acting outside normal chains of command. Locally, militias such as the KPF are called “campaign forces,” an informal name Afghans use for pro-government armed groups.”
The Washington Post interviewed “witnesses of six separate attacks by the militia in the past year, as well as court documents in the only known legal case filed against the unit, after one or more of its men shot dead a 14-year-old boy. Three former commanders of the unit, known as the KPF, tribal elders, lawmakers, lawyers, activists and local government officials with direct knowledge of the force and the CIA’s role were also interviewed.”
One man described how the KPF shot his father dead as he opened the gate to their home, then threw a grenade inside which killed his mother. The farmer and housewife were supposedly mistaken for others who were suspected of trafficking guns.
Several other accounts tell of “English being spoken by armed men who had translators with them, suggesting American operatives were present during assaults where extreme force was used.”
According to sources, the CIA still directs KPF operations, pays salaries, and provides training and equipment. CIA operatives will travel with the KPF during raids, ready to call in warplane or drone strikes.
While US and Afghan spokespersons praise the KPF as being essential to the fight against the Taliban, local residents are growing more outraged by the killings of their friends and family by US proxy fighters. Hundreds protested last month in the streets of Khost City, marching toward Camp Chapman with the bodies of two civilians killed by the KPF.
“Death to Americans,” they chanted. “Death to American slaves.”
The juggernaut of US imperialism continues unabated in the Middle East. Funding and arming paramilitary forces is an essential part of the strategy to maintain control of the region, yet it simultaneously breeds the hatred that fuels terrorism. However, this plays right into the hands of puppet masters and the military-industrial complex, for it guarantees the continued existence of a bogeyman, which perpetuates the necessary fear in the populace while feeding the profits of those making bombs and bullets.
Justin Gardner writes for TheFreeThoughtProject.com