Taliban capture scores of police recruits in Kunar

The Afghan Taliban kidnapped more than 40 Afghan police recruits during an ambush in the terrorist haven of Kunar province.

Both Afghan officials and the Taliban confirmed that more than 40 potential police recruits were captured earlier today in the district of Chara Dara in Kunar.

The Taliban, in a statement released on their propaganda website, Voice of Jihad, claimed that “as many as 50 policemen” were abducted as they traveled from the neighboring province of Nuristan. The Taliban claimed the men were “captured with the documents revealing their posts.” The Taliban are asking for the release of 12 of their fighters from prison in exchange for the Afghan men, Pajhwok Afghan News reported.

But General Khalilullah Ziya, the chief of police for Kunar province, said that 40 young Afghan men were captured by the Taliban as they traveled back to Nuristan from the police recruitment center in the provincial capital of Asadabad. The Afghans were not policemen, as they had been rejected at the recruiting station, Ziya told TOLOnews.

Less than two months ago, the Taliban kidnapped another large group of Afghans in Kunar. On Jan. 31, the Taliban captured 21 pro-government tribal leaders in Kunar, and threatened to execute them if family members did not stop working for the government and security forces. Fourteen of the tribesmen were subsequently released.

Kunar is the second-most violent province in Afghanistan, according to data released by the Afghanistan NGO Safety Office. In 2010, there were 1,467 attacks in Kunar, compared to 1,540 recorded attacks in Ghazni, 1,387 attacks in Helmand, and 1,162 attacks in Kandahar.

Since the pullout of US and Afghan troops from remote outposts in Kunar’s Korengal Valley and the Kamdish district in Nuristan that began in late 2009, several districts in the provinces of Nuristan have been contested. US forces also have withdrawn from the Pech Valley in mid-February of this year, and have turned over security to Afghan forces. Al Qaeda, the Pakistani Taliban, and other allied terror groups are known to have moved into Kunar and Nuristan due to the security vacuum, and have expanded attacks throughout the region.

Kunar province is a known sanctuary for al Qaeda and allied terror groups. The presence of al Qaeda cells has been detected in the districts of Pech, Shaikal Shate, Sarkani, Dangam, Asmar, Asadabad, Shigal, and Marawana; or eight of Kunar’s 15 districts, according to an investigation by The Long War Journal.

A senior al Qaeda commander named Qari Zia Rahman operates in Kunar and Nuristan, and commands military forces on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistani border. Qari Zia has also established suicide training camps for women, and has used female suicide bombers on both sides of the border. Over the past year, Qari Zai has been the target of several ISAF and Afghan special operations raids.

For more information on Qari Zia Rahman, see LWJ reports, Al Qaeda leader kidnaps 21 Afghan tribal leaders in Kunar, and US hunts wanted Taliban and al Qaeda commander in Kunar.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.



  • Eddie D. says:

    Tell me again why we don’t light the entire province up.

  • madashell59 says:

    First, thanks for the fine articles. What I would like to know is out the “21 pro-government tribal leaders.. 14 were released”. Why were they released? Because their family members stopped working for the government and coalition forces?
    With that many attacks in a year (~3 per day in the areas specified) doesn’t that say the 1) this place is not secure and we are far from being finished and 2) that it is an indication that the Afghan government and secure are not ready to control the country.

  • unallied801 says:

    what happened to the other 7 tribal leaders?

  • Bill Hilly says:

    I wonder if these recruits were intended for the ALP program. I wonder if there is credibility in General Khalilullah Ziya’s statement that they were “rejected” recruits. If so, a jaded rejectee would make a prime recruit for anti-coalition forces.
    @madashell59: although American forces were being pulled from Kunar the same time ISAF announced transfer of security responsibility to Afghan Forces in select areas…Kunar was not mentioned in that list of success stories.
    If I understood correctly, the “excuse” ISAF used to justify pulling from Pech and related areas was to consolidate forces in a more populated area in order to protect the people. Yet, I don’t think this adds up… If the anti-coalition forces brought the fight into the remote, less populated valleys of Pech and Korengal… then that is where the fight should be. Posting forces in populated areas will not protect the people, but endanger a greater amount of lives with the risk of collateral damage. To me, it makes more sense that these remote elevated areas were a logistical nightmare for ISAF to sustain with that amount of contention from the enemy. However, admitting defeat wasn’t an option. My guess is that the battle hand off wasn’t with the local security forces, but with a greater consistency of unmanned aerial asset missions.

  • weaponsgrade says:

    I wish Bill would have responded to your questions. He still could.
    The conflict in Afghan provinces will never be solved by the US military. This country has been in
    turmoil since forever. They still live in the dark ages with tribal rule in both Afghanistan and significant parts of Pakistan.
    It is a sick and evil culture. The only way to deal with this sickness/evil is destroy it. I agree the only way to deal with these insane idiots is to light them up.

  • PD says:

    It’s high time they change their recruiting policy. Can you imagine if the CIA recruited by having all potential candidates line up outside their offices?
    Talk about sitting ducks. What they need to do is accept applications by mail, vet the applications thoroughly and then set up appointments at half hourly intervals with the relevant candidates. That way it would only be possible to kill/kidnap one person at a time. This is so obvious, I can’t believe it’s even necessary to point it out.

  • blert says:

    Drug use is endemic in that part of the world.
    So is poverty.
    I’ll bet the hashish smokers never heard about drug tests.
    So they were sent back home.
    The Taliban are so weak that they’re reduced to attacking civilians on a bus!

  • Grim says:

    @ PD
    I would not put a lot of stock in the Afghan mail system. Stuff like appointment schedules would not work in that region. Culturally, they do not view time as we do. Afghanistan has terrible infrastructure if any at all in remote areas. I am pretty sure that you cannot mail a package from Nimroz to Nuristan. I could not picture a FedEx truck driving along Ring Road. (Probably would get blown up pretty easily) If they used some kind of courrier, imagine what would happen if the Taliban intercepted him with all that information. Besides I doubt there is a solid address system in Konar. Just some things to consider.

  • ArneFufkin says:

    @PD: Overall literacy in Afghanistan hovers around 25% and is far lower in these remote provinces. In fact, one of the major drawing influences of the ANSF is the literacy training: They are educated to about 1st-2nd Grade reading level before they graduate from their training academies and that’s a real benefit to otherwise illiterate and unemployable young males looking to make some money for dowries and gain respect in their tribes. It’s an economic and cultural benefit over the financial option the Talibs provide them to plant IEDs and get blown up by Apaches.


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