Your Tax Dollars at Work
In Afghanistan, U.S. Turns 'Malignant Actor' Into Ally
Wall Street Journal | Nov. 18, 2010
...American officials in Afghanistan used to call Col. Abdul Razzik a "malignant actor" who must be sidelined. Now they hail the suspected drug lord as a hero of the new Kandahar offensive and a leader with national potential.
Col. Razzik—an illiterate 34-year-old Afghan Border Police officer who calls himself General, wears flashy Swiss watches and controls southern Afghanistan's lucrative border crossing with Pakistan—emerged over the past two months as the coalition's top choice for clearing Taliban strongholds in Kandahar province, the campaign's centerpiece and the insurgents' heartland.
His reversal of fortune reflects a departure from U.S. counterinsurgency efforts to better governance, marginalize crime-tainted power brokers and win civilians' trust. Since U.S. Gen. David Petraeus took command of coalition forces in July, the military has focused more on killing as many Taliban as possible with the help of whatever local allies can be found, including strongmen whose abuses had made the Taliban popular in the first place...
Col. Razzik, who says he has been working on some operations with the CIA but denies receiving the agency's money, is...a central actor in the crime-tainted political network that maintains a stranglehold over southern Afghanistan, allegedly rigging elections, collecting protection money and smuggling drugs...