Canada Accused of, Denies “Bribing the Tribes”

The U.K. Times Online, attributing the story to “Western military officials,” alleges the Italians were paying the Taliban to keep them quiet, and not telling a French unit relieving them of the arrangement,  Shortly after the relief, 10 French troops were killed in a major ambush.

Italy and France denies the allegations, but The Times goes further, receiving confirmation from Afghan officials as well as a Taliban commander:

Mohammed Ishmayel, a Taleban commander, said that a deal was struck last year so that Italian forces in the Sarobi area, east of Kabul, were not attacked by local insurgents …. Mr Ishmayel said that under the deal it was agreed that “neither side should attack one another. That is why we were informed at that time, that we should not attack the Nato troops.” The insurgents were not informed when the Italian forces left the area and assumed they had broken the deal. Afghan officials also said they were aware of the practice by Italian forces in other areas of Afghanistan.

Now, buried in this story from Agence France-Presse, a “Western military source” says Canada (among others) have been doing the same thing:

…. according to a number of Western and Afghan officers, all speaking on condition of anonymity, the politically sensitive practice is fairly widespread among NATO forces in Afghanistan.

One Western military source told of payments made by Canadian soldiers stationed in the violent southern province of Kandahar, while another officer spoke of similar practices by the German army in northern Kunduz.

“I can tell you that lots of countries under the NATO umbrella operating out in rural parts of Afghanistan do pay the militants for not attacking them,” the senior Afghan official said.

He added that it “seems to be the practice with military forces from some NATO countries, excluding the US forces under NATO, the British forces and the whole coalition forces” under the US-led “Operation Enduring Freedom“.

“I think more than 50 percent of NATO forces deployed in rural Afghanistan have such deals or at least have struck such deals” to ensure peace, the official said.

He said he did not want to say precisely how many but one Western officer said: “As it’s not very positive and not officially recognised, it’s never spoken about openly. It’s a bit shameful.

“Consequently, it’s sometimes not communicated properly between the old unit and the new unit that comes in to relieve them,” which may have happened between the Italians and the French.

A spokesperson with Canada’s Expeditionary Forces Command (CEFCOM) denies such payments, bringing up a good point:

“I haven’t heard of any type of payment that would be done by our troops in order to remain protected,” said Lt.-Col. Chris Lemay, a spokesperson with the Canadian Expeditionary Forces Command. “With the number of casualties we’ve been getting, had we paid these guys they wouldn’t be holding up their end of their bargain.”

The best summary of why the “bribe the tribes” approach can’t work in the long run in Afghanistan (compared to how it seemed to work in Iraq) comes from Nathan Hodge over at Wired.com’s Danger Room blog:

…. the biggest flaw in the “bribe the Taliban” argument: What happens when you stop paying?

Once again, the Iraq example is instructive. Responsibility for paying Sunni tribal militias, referred to by the U.S. military as the Sons of Iraq (SoI), was handed over to the government of Iraq, and a certain number of SoI were eventually supposed to be absorbed into Iraq’s security forces. But not all has gone to plan: Earlier this year, fighting erupted in Baghdad after the arrest of Adel Mashadani, a Sunni militia leader and key figure in the “Awakening” movement. As the central government moved to disarm and disband Awakening councils, it prompted concern about a renewed violence in Iraq as U.S. troops packed up for withdrawal.

And Afghanistan presents a much more difficult case. Iraq’s central government can count on a decent stream of revenue; Afghanistan’s government is pretty much broke. Bribery may work to a point, but it seems highly unlikely that Kabul could keep its internal opponents on the payroll when its operating budget is largely drawn from foreign aid and it can barely cover the cost of maintaining its army and police.

Makes sense to me.

Update (1): This, from the Canadian Press:

Task Force Kandahar spokesperson Maj. Mario Couture says an Agence France-Presse report that alleges Canadian soldiers tried to buy off insurgents is “totally baseless” …. Couture says Canadian soldiers do pay out sums to Afghans who agree to hand in their weapons, while offering others paid work to encourage them to turn their backs on the Taliban …. Defence Minister Peter MacKay, speaking in St. John’s, said it was the first he was hearing of the report and described it as likely “Taliban propaganda.”

UPDATE (2): So, could the story be Taliban propaganda?

TALIBAN PROPAGANDA WATCH (RC South) – 152355UTC Oct 09

NOTE: This material is from web pages and forums carrying statements attributed to the Taliban, Taliban spokespersons or supporters of the Taliban, or analysis thereof. Posting of this material neither confirms nor endorses any of its content – it is shared for information only. When material translated into English is not available, Google Translate is used to translate the original (indicated by “GoogEng”) – this is only a machine translation, NOT an official one.


Mujahideen inflicted heavy losses to the enemy in Kandahar province (Original in Arabic) – Google English translation Official English

(Official English) Mujahideen inflicted heavy losses to the enemy in Kandahar
Thursday afternoon 15-10-2009 at around 1 pm local time, Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan with a improvised explosive device blew up a tank of the NATO forces in Bagh-e-pul area in Arghandab district of Kandahar province, the blast destroyed the tank and all terrorists onboard were killed. According to another report, Thursday midnight 15-10-2009 at around 12 am local time, Mujahideen with an improvised explosive device destroyed a tank of puppet army in district of Kandahar province, the tank was destroyed when the enemy were patrolling in Mirakhor near in Bach agha petrolium service area Zari district of Kandahar province, all the terrorists in the destroyed tank were killed. According to another report, Thursday morning 15-10-2009 at around 11 am local time, Mujahideen with an improvised explosive device blew up a foot patrol of the NATO invaders in Makwan area in Zari district of Kandahar, soon after the first blast more enemy came to the area to transport the dead and wounded to their post, when they were heading back to their post Mujahideen detonated another improvised explosive device, as a result of both the blasts, five terrorists were killed and many were wounded. Reported by Qari Muhammad Yousuf

(Google English) Continental / Yousuf Ahmadi
Blew up a tank of the occupying forces improvised explosive device planted in one hour of noon today (2009-10-15) Paul Bagh area near Selo Department Arghandab in Kandahar. Resulted in a powerful bomb blast which was machine remote control for the destruction of the enemy tank is full and killing all those inside. According to another report, the dawn of the Mujahideen in the twelfth hour yesterday evening, an improvised explosive device planted in a tank patrol pawns occupying forces on the road to Herat, Kandahar highway near a petrol station Bacha Agha district intersection Mira Creek Directorate buttons in the same state, resulting in the destruction of the enemy tank is full and killing all those inside. According to another report, detonated another explosive device in the eleventh hour of the afternoon on a foot patrol of the occupiers on the road to the area near the center of McEwan’s Directorate. Adds the report, after this explosion was a violent explosion in the same area when the enemy soldiers transported the dead and wounded comrades to their posts. As a result of both the blasts, killing five soldiers as occupiers fully and many others.

Attacks on invaders and their puppets in Arghandab, Kandahar 15/10/09 (Original in Arabic) – Google English translation Official English

(Official English) Casualties in the ranks of the invaders and puppets in the Kandahar
Wednesday morning 14-10-2009 at around 10 am local time, a face to face battle took place between the Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and the NATO invaders terrorists in Tarako kalacha area in Arghandab district of Kandahar province, the battle started when the Mujahideen ambushed a patrol of the invaders, the battle lasted about an hour, during which one enemy terrorists was killed and few were wounded. In another report, Mujahideen attacked the puppet army security point in Babar maktab area in Arghandab district of Kandahar province. The attack lasted about an hour, in which six puppet terrorists were killed, a car was destroyed and the security point was burned, six motorcycles, two heavy weapons, and five AK rifles, a cannon and a pistol were Mujahideen’s booty. Reported by Qari Muhammad Yousuf

(Arabic to Google English) Casualties in the ranks of the enemy in the Orandab
Continental / Yousuf Ahmadi
Battle took place face to face between the Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate and the occupation forces in the tenth time this morning (2009-10-14) in an area of the Turku Klajh Mounar in the Directorate of Arghandab in Kandahar. Soldier was killed and another wounded in an occupied surgeries in this battle. Officials said the jihadists in the region: the fighting took place directly in the region, while the Mujahideen attacked a foot patrol of the enemy, and the battle lasted about one hour, and thankfully there have been no casualties among the militants. In the news, another independent, Mujahideen attacked the puppet army soldiers who were Idhenwn security points in the school Babro the province itself. The attack lasted about an hour, in which (6) Afghan soldiers, the destruction of one car, burning their tents. The sheep Mujahideen six motorcycles, two heavy weapons, and five AK rifles, and cannon Hawan small, pistol-type Maikarov <Makarov>.

Petrincot blast kills five occupants in the Directorate of Trinkot (Original in Arabic) – Google English translation Official English

(Official English) 5 NATO terrorists killed and a tank destroyed in Uruzgan
Thursday afternoon 15-10-2009, Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan with an improvised explosive device destroyed the NATO invader army patrolling tank in Speedar village area in Sarobi district of Uruzgan province, also five terrorists were killed. Reported by Qari Muhammad Yousuf

(Arabic to Google English) Continental / Yousuf Ahmadi
Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate of dawn at the second session this afternoon (2009-10-15) an explosive device planted in a military tank belonging to the Crusader occupation forces in the region of Koussa Jodr Bmri Abad, near the city center Trinkot mandate of Uruzgan, resulting in the destruction of the enemy tank patrolling in full Five soldiers were killed by the occupiers. Locals say that the result of the explosion destroyed the enemy tank is full and still wreckage at the scene, and the police of this city, guarding the wreckage. It is said that among the dead female soldier as well.

12 NATO invader army terrorist killed and 3 tanks destroyed in Zabul (Original in Arabic) – Google English translation Official English

(Official English) Wednesday afternoon 14-10-2009 at around 1 pm local time, Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan with improvised explosive devices blew up three tanks of the NATO invaders in Hotakzai area in Mezan district of Zabul province, Mujahideen in the region reported: that the explosions of which two of them took place yesterday and one this morning (2009-10-15), led to the destruction of all three tanks in full, and twelve terrorists were killed. Add news, after the deadly explosions, Mujahideen armed attacked the enemy, resulting in further killings and injuries in the ranks of the enemy. Reported by Qari Muhammad Yousuf

(Arabic to Google English) Killed a dozen soldiers in the balance of Romania
Continental / Yousuf Ahmadi
According to news Linker, Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate was destroyed three tanks of the Romanian troops occupied by improvised explosive devices in the province of Zabul, the balance of the mandate. Israeli tanks, while the Romanian troops were preparing for operations against militants in the area Huatc that the Directorate. Mujahideen says the region: the explosions, which took place two of them yesterday afternoon, and one this morning (2009-10-15), led to the destruction of three tanks full, and still remain in the scene. Add news, after the deadly explosions, Mujahideen attacked an armed attack on the enemy, resulting in the occurrence of further killings and injuries in the ranks of the enemy.

Rocket attack on airport in Nimroz 15/10/09 (Original in Arabic) – Google English translation Official English

(Official English) Wednesday afternoon 14-10-2009 at around 3 pm local time, Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan fired rockets at Nimrose airport base of the invaders in Zaranj city airport Nimroze province, three rockets hit the airport terminal, however the damages to the enemy could not be confirmed. Reported by Qari Muhammad Yousuf

(Arabic to Google English) A rocket attack on the airport Nimroz air
Continental / Yousuf Ahmadi
Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate launched in the third hour of the afternoon yesterday (2009-10-14) several rockets at the airfield Zranj city status and the mandate of Nimroz, the region where a large number of soldiers of the occupying forces and the Crusades. The attack resulted in the fall of the three rockets at the airport terminal, where the right material and spiritual losses to the enemy but not up to date accurate information. It should be noted that the week before the helicopter was shot down an army Customer as a result a similar attack in the same airport, where he confessed to the enemy as well.


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