Sunday, January 17, 2010

Afghans 'do not hide their hatred' of Canadian troops

In this BBC translation of a January 15 broadcast of Al-Jazeera Arabic, Kabul correspondent Waliyullah Shahin reports on a Canadian Forces operation in the Panjwai district:

(Shahin:) These forces realize that danger is looming everywhere. They proceed with extreme caution in the Taleban movement's stronghold, which lies a few kilometers away from the city of Kandahar. They are trying to win the hearts and minds of the people of the Panjwai District, which was the scene of large-scale operations.

(Captain Peter, Canadian contingent:) We are visiting the hospital, schools, and the police station in Panjwai's market to ascertain what the people in the area need.

(Shahin:) The residents of the area do not hide their hatred of these forces. They accuse these forces of violating their privacy and depriving them of the basic needs for a secure rural life. Animosity continues to grip the relationship between these forces and the residents of the area.

(Unidentified Afghan, speaking in a local dialect:) The foreign forces bombard innocent civilians, but not the Taleban. We suffer from the Americans and the Afghan government; we experience a great deal of harassment... (link)
Meanwhile, violence in American-held Garmsir district continues as one civilian is killed by what appears to be US Marines (NATO won't say the nationality of the troops responsible):
NATO Troops Shoot Afghan In Area That Saw Unrest

KABUL, Jan 17 (Reuters) - NATO-led troops shot dead an Afghan civilian whose vehicle approached a convoy today in an area that has seen violent civil unrest over the past week in Afghanistan, the alliance said.

It was at least the third time in a week that either NATO or Afghan troops had shot civilians in Helmand Province's Garmsir district, raising the political temperature in an area mostly seized by U.S. Marines from the Taliban last year.

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said troops had opened fire after a large vehicle with no headlights approached a convoy at high speed early today... (link)
In a similar incident, German troops killed a civilian in the north:
German troops kill civilian - Afghan official

KUNDUZ, Jan 18 (Reuters) - German troops with a NATO-led contingent killed an Afghan civilian and wounded a second person on Sunday at a roadside checkpoint in northern Kunduz province, a senior police official said...

"Despite hand signals and warning shots, the car didn't stop and instead sped towards the checkpoint. Given the escalation, soldiers then opened fire with small arms," the German Federal Armed Forces said in a statement... (link)
With all this carnage, it is perhaps not surprising that a large Ghilzai Pashtun tribe, the Kharoti tribe, is calling for an end to nighttime raids by foreign forces:
Elders seek end to house searches
By Rahmatullah Afghan

KABUL, Jan 15 (Pajhwok) - Elders from the Kharoti tribe have unanimously asked foreign troops to stop unwarranted night operations in their areas.

The demand came at a meeting attended by 60 elders and representatives of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul.

Mullah Sayed Yaqub, representative from the southern zone and resident of the Sra Roza district of Paktika province, said: "We are fed up with the operations. They enter our houses at night and kill us."

He said the international troops should discuss with locals or others if they had any problem in an area... (link)
The Kharoti tribe since 2001 have it seems been trying to maneuver between the Taliban and the foreign occupation forces (see here and here). While the tribe's traditional lands are further north in Paktia and near Kabul, a sizable number of Kharoti settlers can be found in the Nad-i Ali district of Helmand, where US Marines have been operating for several months now. Those Kharotis settled in the district decades ago to work the new farmland created by a costly irrigation project built by an American engineering firm which soon proved a disaster as salination stunted productivity. It is likely, however, that those settlers are largely de-tribalized, as are other Kharoti settler communities in the north of the country. The warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who is loosely allied with the Taliban, comes from such a Kharoti settler community in Kunduz province.

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