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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Our warlord is better than their warlords

The Canadian Forces have always been pragmatic in who it uses to help the CF in places like Kandahar.
White western forces are at a disadvantage in a place where it is incredibly difficult to know who is on first.
That's why warlords and those on the ground are the way to ensure peace.  Their troubled past will not make these people go away and in fact Col Toorjan is well known as the protector of the Provincial Reconstruction Team.
My own experience working closely with Turjoon and his soldiers allowed the PRT of 2005 to be largely incident free due to his power within the vacuum of Kandahar's politics after the Taliban left in 2001.   When Glyn Berry the Canadian diplomat died in a suicide attack on the 15 January 2006 his troops went door to door and ensured that the leader of the suicide bombing cell was arrested.  Unfortunately in a story that's all too common Pir Muhammad was released soon after due to his connections with another Kandahar heavy hitter named Mullah Naqib the warlord of Arghandab.  He once fought valiantly against the Soviets during the war in 1979 to 1989 and then solidified his own position as warlord until the Taliban took over in 1994.  He arranged a surrender of over 3000 Taliban fighters in the US led invasion of 2001 and was an enemy of Gul Agha Sherzai the Governor of Kandahar Province (a ally of Col Turjoon).  His ability to switch sides was noticed that although he arranged for the only person to be arrested in Glyn Berry's death he met just a few weeks later with PM Harper in a room named after the senior diplomat.  Before his death he even warned of Canadian Forces planned withdrawal and was a huge supporter of the International Security Afghanistan Force, at least on the surface.
Mullah Naqib meeting Prime Minister Harper in 2006 outside the conference room named after Glyn Berry
 Pir Mohamed was then arrested a second time after several months living in the open and placed into a Kabul jail where he once again walked out the door.  He even did an interview with CTV claiming his innocence.
Pir Muhammad head of the suicide bombing cell that killed Diplomat Glyn Berry
All of that story would never have come out and the death of a Canadian diplomat would have been left unsolved had it not been to the soldiers of Col Turjoon.  Mullah Naqib died of a heart attack after his convoy was attacked in Oct 2007.  Pir Muhammad has not been seen since his release and its is well assumed by many that he has been killed.
When fighting in the third world there are times when third world skill sets are needed.  If our goal is to ensure that Afghans fight Afghans problems then people like Col Turjoon are the ones to do the dirty work.
Gul Agha Sherzai and Hamid Karzai
A Kandahar warlord, with links to former governor Gul Agha Sherzai, earned $2.5 million since 2008 providing security outside of the provincial reconstruction base.
Col. Haji Toorjan employed a 40-man militia. But there are questions about how much was spent for his service because the documents tabled in the House of Commons are not consistent with access-to-information records and published reports that show he was on the payroll in 2007.
The NDP's foreign-affairs critic said it's appalling Ottawa had no mechanism to govern hired guns and charged that what the country tried to accomplish in terms of rule of law in Kandahar has suffered.
"It undermines our credibility," said Paul Dewar. "Afghans are not stupid. They see these people. They see what they're doing and they know who is paying them."
Dewar questioned why contractors were needed in the first place. But a defence expert, who has written extensively on the use of hired guns in war zones, said they are fact of life in the age of all-volunteer armies.
The contractors, usually ex-soldiers, are most often used in a defensive manner, taking up guard duties that free combat troops, said researcher Dave Perry in Ottawa.
He also cautioned that moral outrage over unsavoury alliances with local warlords should be tempered.
In conflict zones "I think it would be hard to find somebody who could provide credible security force that did not have something in their past that somebody could point to and say that they've done something inappropriate," said Perry.
Complete article is here:

Gul Agha Sherzai's new mansion in Jalalabad

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