Paying tribute 2

Certain countries contributing soldiers to the coalition forces in Afghanistan are buying their troops protection by paying the enemy tribute, according to some reports. The allegations seem all too probable. The aim would be not to defeat the Taliban but just to keep them temporarily at bay. It is not a tactic for conquest and victory. If true, it is yet another sign that NATO is in disarray and the Taliban are winning.

From The Australian:

The Times [London] newspaper  said 10 French troops killed in Sarobi, near Kabul, last year had not properly assessed the risks, because their Italian predecessors failed to inform them they had paid the Taliban not to attack them.

The Italian government described the British newspaper’s report as “totally baseless” and said it had “never authorised any kind of money payment to members of the Taliban insurrection in Afghanistan”.

But a senior Afghan official suggested otherwise. “I certainly can confirm that we were aware that the Italian forces were paying the opposition in Sarobi not to attack them,” he said.

“We have reports of similar deals in (western) Herat province by Italian troops based there under NATO’s umbrella.

“It’s a deal: you don’t attack me, I don’t attack you,” he said, adding the practice was passed on between foreign forces and it was likely that senior commanders were either involved or turned a blind eye to it. It is simply a matter of buying time and surviving.”

A French army spokesman in Kabul, Lieutenant Colonel Jackie Fouquereau, said: “The French do not give money to insurgents.”

NATO spokesman in Afghanistan, General Eric Tremblay, said he was “not aware” of such practices and had no information about the Italian case. …

But according to a number of Western and Afghan officers, the politically sensitive practice is fairly widespread among NATO forces in Afghanistan.

One Western military source told of payments made by Canadian soldiers stationed in the violent southern province of Kandahar, while another officer spoke of similar practices by the German army in northern Kunduz.

“I can tell you that lots of countries under the NATO umbrella operating out in rural parts of Afghanistan do pay the militants for not attacking them,” the senior Afghan official said. …

He said he did not want to say precisely how many but one Western officer said: “As it’s not very positive and not officially recognised, it’s never spoken about openly. It’s a bit shameful. Consequently, it’s sometimes not communicated properly between the old unit and the new unit that comes in to relieve them,”  which may have happened between the Italians and the French. According to The Times, the Italian secret service gave tens of thousands of dollars to Taliban commanders and local warlords to keep the peace in the Sarobi region.

Posted under Afghanistan, Commentary, Defense, NATO, News, Terrorism, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Saturday, October 17, 2009

Tagged with , , , , ,

This post has 2 comments.

Permalink
  • C. Gee

    But America pays billions in bribes to Pakistan to” keep the peace “. Paying off the enemy's extortion racket is the time-honoured way of dealing with the tribes in those parts. It shows respect for the culture.

  • Winston

    I am in Europe now. That story is such a big controversy here that is making every one shocked and surprised. Italians are not very popular among other western European nations for such antics. The coalition in Afstan is already fragile enough and it seems Italians have done an awful thing.