Tal­iban ‘Red Units’ kill Afghan po­lice of­fi­cers

The Buffalo News - - WORLD NEWS - By Taimoor Shah and Rod Nordland

KAN­DA­HAR, Afghanistan – The new­est ad­di­tions to the Afghan bat­tle­field are fighters sport­ing “Star Wars”like head­gear con­tain­ing Rus­sian­built night gog­gles, U.S.-made M-4 au­to­matic ri­fles with laser sights, and bulky telescopic sights made in Iran or Pak­istan.

They wear baggy shal­war kameez cloth­ing and tur­bans – and fight for the Tal­iban. Mem­bers of an elite out­fit called the Red Unit, they may even ride into bat­tle aboard a Ford Ranger po­lice pickup truck or an ar­mored army Humvee.

Their laser sights shine on po­lice of­fi­cers and sol­diers from the Afghan gov­ern­ment, which has ben­e­fited from bil­lions of dol­lars in Western aid to the Afghan se­cu­rity forces.

In five night­time at­tacks in a 36hour pe­riod Mon­day and Tues­day, fighters who ap­peared to be from such Tal­iban units killed scores of Afghan se­cu­rity per­son­nel, mostly po­lice of­fi­cers, in two prov­inces in south­ern and western Afghanistan.

Afghan au­thor­i­ties said that the in­sur­gents in these and sim­i­lar re­cent at­tacks are prov­ing to be bet­ter equipped than gov­ern­ment forces, par­tic­u­larly those in po­lice units, which have suf­fered most of the ca­su­al­ties.

The Red Unit has car­ried out many of these at­tacks, Afghan of­fi­cials said, of­ten us­ing stolen mil­i­tary or po­lice ve­hi­cles as Tro­jan horses to get close to bases they plan to at­tack.

“The Tal­iban now are us­ing dif­fer­ent tac­tics,” said Qu­drat­ul­lah Khush­bakht, spokesman for Kan­da­har’s provin­cial gov­er­nor. “They have their own mo­bile special forces unit which is equipped with lasers and night vi­sion gear, and they are at­tack­ing check posts and bases and then leav­ing the area as quickly as pos­si­ble to avoid airstrikes.”

That was the case in at­tacks into the early hours of Tues­day in two dis­tricts in Kan­da­har prov­ince, in which Khush­bakht said 23 po­lice of­fi­cers were killed and 16 in­jured in rolling at­tacks on 15 po­lice posts. Other of­fi­cials, how­ever, put the death toll at 70 of­fi­cers.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.