Saturday, August 14, 2004

Hey, Soldier. Wanna Buy the Qandahar Bridge? 

Afghanistan in a nutshell, from Stars and Stripes (courtesy of Zemblan patriot M.R.):
[Abdul] Ghani had been nominated by the governor of southern Afghanistan’s Zabul province to lead a district north of Qalat in an area known as the Kaki-Afghan Valley. In a gathering of regional leaders a few months ago, Ghani stood up alongside the newly selected police chief for the district denouncing the Taliban and swearing allegiance to Hamid Karzai’s central government in Kabul . . . .

After Ghani’s appointment, [Lt. Col. Scott] McBride’s troops supplied the new district leader and police chief with $100,000, four new Toyota Hilux four-wheel-drive police trucks and four hand-held satellite phones.

The money was to pay the salaries of district policemen as well as to build a school.

It wasn’t long before McBride said he was getting reports that the school was not being built, and the new vehicles were missing . . . .

Khan said that Ghani had been allowing local Taliban militiamen to use the trucks.

“They had a deal where the police would use the trucks in the day and the Taliban could use them at night,” said Grucella. Meanwhile, virtually no work had been done on the new school, and most of the money was gone . . . .

“The problem over here is you just don’t know who to trust,” said Capt. Mike Berdy, 2nd-35th Company C commander. “A lot of these guys, even if they’re not necessarily what you’d call ‘pro-Taliban’ they’re still with the Taliban because they have no other choice.”
Three of the Toyota police trucks were recovered in a neighboring village. Ghani remains at large.

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