- CIA-Backed Afghan Militias Kill with Impunity, Rights Group Says
by AFP/ec, via https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news
KABUL: CIA-backed Afghan paramilitary groups operating with impunity are summarily executing civilians during botched nighttime raids and are responsible for the disappearances of suspects, a rights group said on Thursday (Oct 31).
The secretive militias, whose support from America’s Central Intelligence Agency continues a tradition stemming from the Soviet-Afghan war of the 1980s, have long hunted the Taliban and are seen as an important tool as the war against the insurgents intensifies.
But their rough tactics have long sparked controversy across Afghanistan.
In a report, Human Rights Watch (HRW) documented 14 cases from late 2017 to mid-2019 in which it said CIA-backed “strike groups” committed serious abuses during night raids, such as one in the southeastern province of Paktia in which a paramilitary unit killed 11 men, including eight who were home for the Eid holidays.
The CIA disputed the HRW report, saying many of the claims against Afghan militias were “likely false or exaggerated.” In several cases, the raids – usually in Taliban-controlled areas – were accompanied by air strikes that “indiscriminately or disproportionately” killed civilians, HRW said, and sometimes, troops detained men and didn’t tell families where they were being held.