Tal­iban kill dozens of Afghan po­lice in night­time at­tacks

Santa Fe New Mexican - - NATION & WORLD - By Taimoor Shah and Rod Nord­land

KAN­DA­HAR, Afghanistan — Per­haps more than 70 Afghan po­lice of­fi­cers and five sol­diers were killed in a se­ries of at­tacks in south­ern and western Afghanistan on Mon­day night and Tues­day, and again the Tal­iban re­port­edly used night-vi­sion tech­nol­ogy in the at­tacks, po­lice of­fi­cials said.

Matiul­lah Hel­lal, spokesman for the po­lice in Kan­da­har prov­ince, said 22 po­lice of­fi­cers were killed and 15 wounded in the lat­est at­tacks there overnight, on 15 small po­lice posts in the Mai­wand and Zhare dis­tricts near the bor­der with Hel­mand prov­ince. Hel­mand is a largely Tal­iban­con­trolled prov­ince, un­like Kan­da­har.

The at­tack­ers were aided, Hel­lal said, by “mod­ern weapons like lasers and night-vi­sion gog­gles,” and in one in­stance they used a stolen po­lice truck to ap­proach their tar­gets. Sim­i­lar tac­tics were de­scribed in a Tal­iban at­tack the night be­fore, in the western prov­ince of Farah.

In the Kan­da­har am­bushes, Hel­lal said that none of the posts were cap­tured, and that the po­lice were able to in­flict heavy ca­su­al­ties on the Tal­iban as well.

How­ever, a po­lice of­fi­cial in the area, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause his ac­count con­tra­dicted the of­fi­cial ver­sion, said that losses by the po­lice were far worse than an­nounced. He put the num­ber of dead of­fi­cers at 70, and said the po­lice posts the Tal­iban at­tacked, which he said num­bered 18, were com­pletely over­run. He said five unit com­man­ders were among the dead.

When po­lice re­in­force­ments were sent to the aid of those posts, the of­fi­cial said, “the Tal­iban were us­ing night-vi­sion gog­gles and the po­lice who were sent were shot by laser-guided weapons against which they could not de­fend them­selves. The po­lice have no night-vi­sion gog­gles at all.”

The of­fi­cial’s ac­count was cor­rob­o­rated by sev­eral other po­lice fig­ures, who also would not com­ment on the record.

Hel­lal, the spokesman, said that of­fi­cers at only a quar­ter of the po­lice posts in Kan­da­har had laser sights on their weapons, and that none of them had nightvi­sion gog­gles.

Afghan of­fi­cials said the killings were the lat­est in a wave of at­tacks by the Tal­iban us­ing night-vi­sion gog­gles, usu­ally with Rus­sian mark­ings. U.S. forces in­tro­duced night-vi­sion tech­nol­ogy in Afghanistan, and U.S. train­ers have in­structed the Afghan Army how to use them to gain an ad­van­tage against the Tal­iban.

Now, the Tal­iban have ap­par­ently man­aged to ob­tain the same tech­nol­ogy. “Night-vi­sion equip­ment is used in am­bushes by the in­sur­gents and it is very ef­fec­tive,” said Maj. Gen. Dawlat Waziri, spokesman for the De­fense Min­istry. “You can see your en­emy, but they can­not see you com­ing.”

While Afghan sol­diers of­ten have night-vi­sion equip­ment, po­lice of­fi­cers usu­ally do not.

Qari Yusuf Ah­madi, a spokesman for the Tal­iban in the south and west of the coun­try, boasted of the in­sur­gents’ use of the tech­nol­ogy. “Usu­ally we are us­ing laser weapons and night vi­sions on night at­tacks, and we def­i­nitely used night vi­sions and laser weapons for that at­tack as well,” he said, reached by cell­phone at an undis­closed location. He ap­peared to be re­fer­ring to laser sys­tems used as gun­sights.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.