Afghan commander defects, with guns, to Taliban allies
KUNAR, Afghanistan — An Afghan army special forces commander has defected to an insurgent group allied with the Taliban in a Humvee truck packed with his team's guns and high-tech equipment, officials in the eastern Kunar province said on Sunday.
Monsif Khan, who raided the supplies of his 20-man team in Kunar's capital, Asadabad, over the Eid al-Adha religious holiday, is the first special forces commander to switch sides, joining the Hezb-e-Islami organization.
“He sent some of his comrades on leave and paid others to go out sightseeing, and then escaped with up to 30 guns, night-vision goggles, binoculars and a Humvee,” said Shuja ul-Mulkh Jalala, the governor of Kunar.
Zubair Sediqi, a spokesman for Hezb-e-Islami, confirmed that Khan had joined the group, saying he had brought 15 guns and high-tech equipment.
The NATO-led coalition is grappling with a rise in “insider attacks” by Afghan soldiers who turn on their allies, undermining trust and efficiency. It has reported four lethal incidents during the past month, taking the number this year to 10, according to a Reuters tally.
Kunar, like other provinces along the border with Pakistan, is among the more insecure and volatile parts of Afghanistan.
Local security forces have started a manhunt for the commander, and tribal elders have promised to help.
“We are trying our best to use elders' influence in that area to bring back all equipment,” Jalala said.
A record number of insider attacks — accounting for about one in every five coalition combat deaths — last year prompted the coalition to briefly suspend all joint activities and take steps to curb interaction between foreign and Afghan troops.
That has cut down the number of incidents, but some soldiers say the measures have further eroded the trust painstakingly nurtured between the allies over more than 12 years of war.
All entrants to the Afghan National Security Force have to pass an eight step vetting process, which includes providing identification cards, letters of recommendation by village or district elders and undergoing tests.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Nations vow to curb Arctic climate change
- Iraqi general, 3 officers killed in convoy ambush
- Terrorists planned attack on Vatican, officials say
- Armenia commemorates massacre
- Irradiated drone found atop Japanese PM’s office
- European Union to restart missions to rescue migrants in Mediterranean
- Mexican teen wrongly taken to U.S. returned
- All sides in war-torn Yemen say they’re willing to negotiate, but battles, bombs rage unabated
- Egypt gives Ohio State graduate on hunger strike life prison term for financing sit-in
- Unilateral Obama sanction relief for Iranians possible
- Pakistan could put nukes on new submarines sold by China