Civilian Casualties Haqqani Khost Surkai tech War & Peace Zurmat

Khost Protection Force Accused of Fresh Killings: Six men shot dead in ZurmatAfghanistan Analysts Network

One of two cars the family said the Khost Protection Force burned during their attack.


One in every of two automobiles the household stated the Khost Safety Pressure burned throughout their assault.

There was a recent assault on civilians by armed males whom the victims’ household and the Paktia provincial governor’s spokesman have stated have been from the Khost Safety Pressure, an irregular militia supported by the CIA. A survivor of the assault carried out in Surkai village in Zurmat district, in Paktia province, described to AAN how 5 males in his household, together with three college college students, and a neighbour, have been summarily executed and the way he was questioned by an American in uniform accompanying the Afghan gunmen. The Paktia governor’s spokesman has additionally confirmed that ‘overseas troops’ have been concerned within the operation (and the US army spokesman has stated the US army was not concerned). As AAN Co-Director, Kate Clark, reviews, the incident raises but once more the unaccountability of such forces and the impunity with which they act. It additionally raises the query of motive – this specific household was a bulwark towards Haqqani affect in Zurmat.

What occurred in Zurmat

On the night time of 30 December 2018, Ghulam Muhammad informed AAN he was at house within the giant compound he shared together with his brother, Naim Faruqi, within the village of Surkai, in Zurmat.

I used to be listening to the ten o’ clock information on the radio. I assumed I heard a drone, then, I used to be unsure – did they make the opening with a bomb or a rocket? – in any case, [a detonation] left a gap within the [compound] wall. I understood this was a raid, as I’ve seen many earlier than… Then, there was shouting that no-one ought to transfer or activate the lights.

Uniformed males with night time imaginative and prescient goggles and head-mounted lights had pressured their approach into his residence.  “Once they got here into my room,” he stated, “I caught my palms up.” He stated one of many women of the home who’s disabled cried out in Pashto and the lads stated they might not hurt her as they took him outdoors. From the room got here the sound of a muffled shot. He would later study his youthful brother, Sayid Hassan, had been shot lifeless.

With the armed Afghans, he stated, was an American who requested, by way of a translator, if Ghulam Muhammad knew the Taleban commander, ‘Sargardan’. He stated he advised the American that there was nobody by that identify in Paktia or Paktika. The identify is certainly unusual. Then, he stated the American advised him Commander Sargardan had come to the home the day before today and sat together with his brother. Ghulam Muhammad stated he had been making an attempt to elucidate how the day before today he had met somebody very totally different, the “robust anti-Taleban” border commander from neighbouring Matakhan district of Khost province, Commander Wadud. Ghulam Muhammad stated that they had mentioned safety and he had prompt to Wadud there must be a checkpost in his space – proof, presumably, that he and his family couldn’t probably be a menace or supporting the insurgency. He stated the American had been listening to this dialog when he requested concerning the commander.

In accordance with Ghulam Muhammad, the lads of the home have been separated into totally different teams. One of many armed Afghans revealed that they had orders to kill him, however as an alternative, he was going to spare him. Saying “Pray for me, as I’m saving you,” he despatched Ghulam Muhammad to a ruined constructing close by, telling him to attend there. He waited a very long time, till concern over one daughter with a coronary heart drawback despatched him again to the home. 

I heard her voice [so knew she was alright]. Once I received into the home, I went to my room and noticed that Sayid Hassan had been killed. I went to the visitor room and located Atiqullah and Fath al-Rahman, additionally lifeless. [In another room] have been Naim and Karim, each killed – considered one of my nieces, the daughter of Naim, was with them. Naim was sat on the ground – he had been shot within the eye. Karim had been shot within the mouth and his face was destroyed…

The wolf from the mountains doesn’t perform such actions. They shot them within the eyes and mouths, the place the ladies have been sitting, a mom was sitting. I can’t clarify… And people younger individuals, they have been the way forward for Afghanistan, college students at college. 

Later, at round 1.30 am, a telephone name got here – it was the son of a neighbour, Muhammad Omar. He stated his father had been martyred. Then, at daybreak, Ghulam Muhammad stated, neighbours got here with lanterns.

In all, six males had been killed: Naim Faruqi and Sayid Hassan (Ghulam Muhammad’s brothers), Muhammad Karim (his son and Naim’s son-in-law), Fath al-Rahman and Atiqullah (Naim’s sons) and Muhammad Omar, a farmer and neighbour of Naim. Ghulam Muhammad had 5 our bodies to organize for burial.

In our tradition, the our bodies of martyrs don’t have to be washed… However Islam says that if somebody says a phrase after they’ve been wounded [and before they die] then they have to be washed. We had not seen the martyrs die, [so we didn’t know if they had said anything]. So we agreed that, to watch out, we should always bathe them.

The funerals, nevertheless, have been delayed. The household determined to go together with the our bodies to the governor. They might have gone to see the governor both of Paktika the place they believed the armed males had come from, or their very own province, Paktia. They selected their very own provincial capital, Gardez, stated Ghulam Muhammad:

We determined that ten automobiles ought to go. However when individuals acquired to listen to of it, 100 automobiles got here. The deputy governor [Alhaj Abdul Wali Sahi] met us on the steps and advised us that he understood a horrible factor has been executed. We now have no response for you. This was oppression.

A later delegation went to see the Paktia governor himself, Shamim Katawazi who, Ghulam Muhammad reported, was hostile. He absolutely defended the operation and criticised the individuals of Zurmat for, he stated, not resisting the Taleban. Ghulam Muhammad stated the governor additionally advised him there was a ‘kill record’ of 16 different males and he was on it. The governor’s spokesman denied the governor had stated this or that the Khost Safety Pressure has a kill listing.

A authorities investigation group from Kabul, together with head of the Senate safety fee Hashim Alakozai has visited the home. The Paktia governor’s spokesman additionally informed AAN that the provincial authorities, together with the deputy governor, native NDS and different safety establishments have been additionally investigating. As of now, nothing has been reported again to the household or the general public.

Who was killed

The brothers, Naim Faruqi and Ghulam Muhammad, had seen many night time raids, multiple hundred, since 2001. Each had been commanders with the mujahedin faction, Harakat-e Enqelab-e Islami, preventing the Soviet occupation within the 1980s, and the third brother, Sayid Hassan, a youthful man had been a junior commander within the later levels of the struggle. After the PDPA authorities of Dr Najibullah misplaced energy to the mujahedin in 1992, Naim turned district governor of Zurmat and Ghulam Muhammad turned the district police chief, staying on in these posts when the Taleban captured Paktia in 1995. Many Harakatis, together with the sub-faction the brothers belonged to, led by Mawlawi Nasrullah Mansur, joined the Taleban (see AAN reporting right here), so the truth that the brothers stored their posts beneath the Taleban authorities was unremarkable. After 2001, nevertheless, they have been among the many many civilians caught up within the insanity of the campaigns of mass arbitrary arrests carried out by the USA army and CIA within the first two years of the intervention.

These detained in Zurmat and despatched to the US jail camp in Guantanamo (many extra have been despatched to Bagram or held regionally) ranged from outstanding elders and mullahs to criminals to a twelve yr previous boy, a sufferer of bacha bazi. They included reconciled Taleban, those that had opposed (and been jailed and tortured) by the Taleban when the motion was in energy, and males who had tried to face as much as the corrupt provincial authorities officers appointed by President Karzai after which defence minister Marshall Qasim Fahim in 2001. Particulars of those detentions may be learn in Anand Gopal’s e-book “No Good Males Amongst The Dwelling: America, the Taliban, and the Conflict by way of Afghan Eyes” (pages 133-139). Particulars of the disastrous authorities appointments and ensuing corruption and abuses that fed revolt and insurgency could be discovered on this AAN dispatch, “2001 Ten Years on (three): The autumn of Loya Paktia and why the US most popular warlords”. 

These despatched from Zurmat to Guantanamo included Naim Faruqi, as Gopal writes:

Commander Naim was an eminent tribal elder who had been elected safety chief of Zurmat following the Russian departure, stayed on via the Taliban years, and was reelected in 2002. An ardent supporter of the People and one of the well-liked figures in Zurmat, he nonetheless found someday that some males beneath his command had been detained by US troops. When Naim confirmed as much as ask why, he, too, was arrested, blindfolded, and handcuffed. “They stripped me bare, out within the open, the place everybody might see,” he informed a reporter. “I used to be considering that these are infidels who’ve come to a Muslim nation to imprison us, identical to the Russians.” Taken from one base to the subsequent, Naim ultimately discovered himself shackled within the wire-mesh cages of Kandahar Airfield. “We have been with out hope as a result of we have been harmless,” he recalled. “I used to be very unhappy as a result of I couldn’t see my youngsters, household, pals. However what might we do?” 

Naim suspected that a rival, Mullah Qasim, had given false info to the People and obtained him detained (see additionally documentation from Guantanamo). Such false tip-offs, made by Afghans for cash or to get the US army and CIA to focus on their private rivals have been widespread on this period. Naim was ultimately assessed as “neither affiliated with al-Qaeda nor being a Taliban chief” and as not posing “a future menace to the U.S. or U.S. pursuits.” He was really helpful for launch on 18 January 2003 and transferred to Afghan custody, and, Gopal writes, lastly launched “following intense tribal strain.” Sources in Paktia stated Karzai provided Naim the Zurmat district governorship after his launch, however he declined, saying that, having misplaced every part, he didn’t need to be additional concerned, and that the federal government and the individuals of Zurmat ought to adhere to a coverage of mutual non-interference.

Naim was detained, but once more, in 2010 and this time taken to the US detention camp north of Kabul at Bagram airfield, as Gopal describes:

[In 2010], Naim attended a gathering with the governor to debate how they might persuade insurgents to return in from the chilly and help the federal government. Upon leaving, he was arrested by American particular forces. Indignant protests swept the province, and retailers carried out a three-day basic strike in his help. 

Naim was in Bagram for greater than two years. Ghulam Mohammad and Sayid Hassan (the opposite brother killed on 30 December) have been additionally each jailed in Bagram, in 2002, for 2 and three years respectively.

‘Naim Faruqi’s is a well known, landowning household. An indication of their standing within the province is that Ghulam Muhammad was one in every of Paktia’s representatives to the Emergency Loya Jirga of 2002. The method of choosing and electing these representatives was simply the cleanest train in democracy Afghans have skilled since 2001 with nearly all of these despatched to Kabul genuinely in style and consultant (see AAN reporting right here). All through the years, regardless of the raids and detention, Naim maintained relations with the provincial authorities and took part in jirgas. One supply stated he had been as a consequence of see Paktia’s governor Shamim Katawazaithe week after his demise. None of these killed within the raid have been combatants. If the authorities had needed to query any of them, they might have requested them to return to Gardez. 

Killing civilians is, in fact, a conflict crime. Even when it was not, politically and militarily, the killing of those six males is unnecessary. In a province like Paktia the place the Haqqani community is highly effective, such households as Naim’s, with their robust background within the anti-Soviet jihad and standing locally present a bulwark towards the insurgents – not simply politically, but in addition militarily.

Naim and his brothers, the older Ghulam Muhammad and the late Sayed Hassan, have repeatedly blocked Haqqani enlargement from the community’s base to the south within the Shahi Kot highlands space of Zurmat district. There have been clashes 5 years in the past between the brothers and different native males, and Sulaimanzai Kuchis whom, Paktian sources stated, had been armed and supported by the Haqqanis. The Kuchis have been claiming authorities land on the western aspect of the Shahikot escarpment (between Sahawza and Shahikot). The Zurmatis interpreted this as an try by the Haqqanis seize their space and prolong the Haqqanis’ sphere from Shahikot deeper into Zurmat. They forcibly expelled the Kuchis. 

Later, there have been calls for for transit ‘rights’ via the Zurmat valley by the Haqqanis and their allies, who locals name ‘Kafkazis’, typically translated as ‘Chechens’, however extra precisely Muslims from the north Caucasus or, much more broadly, former Soviet Union (see earlier AAN work on the problem of defining ‘Chechen’ in the course of the Afghan warfare (right here and right here). The overseas fighters, members of al-Qaeda, have established bases in Shahi Kot and, with the Haqqanis, needed to have the ability to journey by way of Zurmat and on to Gardez and probably Kabul. Naim and his brothers rejected this, on the idea that it was their territory and that nobody had the appropriate to enter or function in it however them, and they didn’t need their space additional affected by the battle or the Haqqanis increasing. In the summertime of 2017, AAN was informed, the overseas fighters established a publish close to Surdiwal on the junction linking Shahikot, Nek, Surkai and Gardez. The Zurmatis arrange three posts to dam them. They refused to maneuver and the Zurmatis attacked, with males misplaced on each side and the Haqqanis and overseas fighters pressured to retreat. There have been comparable clashes in the summertime of 2019 with once more the Haqqanis and their allies withdrawing. 

All this makes the motive behind the killing of Naim and his relations and neighbour baffling. The KPF and the CIA, counter-insurgency forces bent on battling the Haqqanis, have succeeded in aiding their enemies. Additionally, when contemplating the way forward for locations like Zurmat and Paktia, the lack of the three sons, all at college, is troubling. Zurmat is a conservative province and most households ship their sons to the native madrassa to get educated. Naim and Gul Muhammad have been from the small handful of households sending their boys to school. In a rustic the place the cultural and political cut up between trendy and madrassa schooling is sharp, killing off college college students who’re the sons of conventional madrassa-educated males undermines future hopes for social reconciliation.

The victims

1. Naim Faruqi

Round 60 years previous, former entrance commander with Haraqat-e Enqelab and district governor of Zurmat.

2. Sayid Hassan

Mid-40s, brother of Faruqi and Ghulam Muhammad, a businessman. He had served as Harakat commander within the latter levels of the battle towards the Soviet military and PDPA authorities. Throughout Rabbani’s mujahedin authorities (1992-1996), he was head of an intelligence unit (qeta-ye kashf)within the Gardez Military Corps. 

three. Muhammad Karim

Son-in-law of Naim Faruqi and son of Ghulam Muhammad. In his twenties. Scholar in his fourth yr at Gardez college. 

four. Fath al-Rahman 

Son of Naim. In his twenties. Scholar in third yr of Khost college.

5 Attiqullah

Son of Naim, In his twenties, scholar on the Sharia school, College in Khost. 

6. Muhammad Omar,  a farmer and neighbour of Naim.

Who carried out the killings?

The armed males who got here to Naim’s home have been uniformed and well-equipped. They have been accompanied by a foreigner who spoke English and requested questions by way of an interpreter. Ghulam Muhammad stated he had been advised by certainly one of his sons in Sharana, the provincial capital of neighbouring Paktika, that a convoy of 50 automobiles had come from there that night. The household consider the armed males who carried out the raid have been from the Khost Safety Drive (KPF) which is underneath nominal NDS command, and operates with CIA help out of its base in Camp Chapman in Khost province. It additionally has battalions, AAN was advised, in Sharana and Gardez. (1) The Paktia Governor’s spokesman, Abdullah Hasrat, confirmed to AAN that these finishing up the operation have been from the Khost Safety Pressure and in addition that “overseas troops” have been concerned. The US army spokesman, David Butler, advised AAN that US army personnel weren’t concerned on this operation. 

The allegation is cheap, that the KPF carried out the killings, and in addition that the American accompanying them was from the CIA. Allegations towards the Khost Safety Pressure are longstanding and embrace extrajudicial killing, torture, beating and illegal detentions. The occasional presence of CIA personnel or ‘People’ or ‘foreigners’ when atrocities have been carried out has additionally been alleged earlier than.

The KPF is a ‘marketing campaign drive’, one of many Afghan militias established after 2001 underneath worldwide (often CIA or US particular forces) management. Different examples embrace the Kandahar Strike Drive and Paktika’s Afghan Safety Guards. The Khost Safety Drive emerged out of the 25th Division of the ‘Afghan Army Forces’, the time period used to explain the varied Afghan armed forces that got here underneath formal Ministry of Defence command in 2001 and 2002 and acquired US funding. This was earlier than the creation of the Afghan Nationwide Military. The Afghan Army Forces encompassed a variety of militias and forces drawn from the Northern Alliance and people loyal to pro-US Pashtun commanders. The 25th Division in Khost was uncommon in that it had a excessive proportion of former members of the PDPA military, from the social gathering’s Khalqi wing, together with its commander, Basic Khialbaz who’s from Khost’s Zazi Maidan district.The 25thDivision was spared Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) due to its good hyperlinks to the CIA, though Khialbaz claimed to this writer in 2004 it was due to its success as a “non-partisan grouping.” Through the years, accusations towards the KPF have been quite a few and their modus operandiconsistent:

In 2014,UNAMA discovered that 5 detainees who had been arrested by the Khost Safety Drive along with worldwide army forces and detained on the US Camp Chapman basein Khost had been subjected to ill-treatment. 

In December 2015, The Washington Publish  and New York Occasions each reported allegations towards the KPF of killing civilians, torture, questionable detentions, arbitrary arrests and using extreme drive in night time raidsand the presence of what the papers referred to as “American advisors.” The Washington Publish described a raid carried out in October 2015 just like that which was carried out on Naim Faruqi’s home.

“When my father opened the gate, they shot him lifeless,” recalled [Darwar] Khan, who was inside the home on the time. “Then, they tossed a grenade into the compound, killing my mom.” His father was a farmer. His mom was a homemaker… (2)

UNAMA’s 2016 mid-year report cited specific considerations concerning the variety of civilian casualties brought on by the Khost Safety Pressure.

In 2018, UNAMA, in its third quarterly report into the safety of civilians, once more named the Khost Safety Drive, together with NDS Particular Forces, that are additionally backed by the CIA and function outdoors formal ANSF command.

Within the first 9 months of 2018, UNAMA documented 222 civilian casualties (178 deaths and 44 injured) brought about throughout search operations by Professional-Authorities Forces, greater than double the quantity recorded throughout the identical interval in 2017. UNAMA attributed 143 civilian casualties (124 deaths and 19 injured) to look operations involving Nationwide Directorate of Safety (NDS) Particular Forces, both alone or partnered with worldwide army forces. 

UNAMA stated it had additionally acquired “constant, credible accounts of intentional destruction of civilian property, unlawful detention, and different abusescarried out by NDS Particular Forces and pro-Authorities armed teams, together with the Khost Safety Pressure.” 

Most just lately, in December 2018, The New York Occasions reported how ‘marketing campaign forces’ together with NDS particular forces and the Khost Safety Drive have been leaving “a path of abuse and anger.” The newspaper reported the an evening raid on a home in Nader Shah Kot in Khost province by the KPF through which two males and a lady have been allegedly shot deadand the home burned down, inside it a three yr previous woman who burned to demise.

Lack of accountability

It has proved unattainable for Afghans to carry forces just like the KPF and NDS particular forces to account. That is due partly to their murky chains of command and partly to the facility and secrecy of their backer, the CIA. 

UNAMA has highlighted each points. In 2018, for instance, it stated:

These forces are of specific concern as lots of them seem to function outdoors of the Afghan Nationwide Safety Forces’ chain of command, leading to a scarcity of clear oversight and accountability given the absence of clearly outlined jurisdiction for the investigation of any allegations towards them.

It has referred to as for the KPF’s integration into common ANSF “with clear reporting strains to the Authorities and that jurisdiction for the investigation of any allegations towards them are clearly outlined in regulation.” (see right here). Till such time as these forces are regularised, it stated “their actions are opposite to the legal guidelines of Afghanistan and the Structure of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.”

In its third quarterly report for 2018, UNAMA talked about the issues it was dealing with simply making an attempt to speak to NDS particular forces and the KPF and their backers: “The mission urges NDS and worldwide army forces working with NDS Particular Forces to offer some extent of contact via which UNAMA might interact with these teams.” Humanitarian businesses working in Khost have additionally confronted comparable issues making an attempt to get the type of protocols they’ve with different events to the battle in order that, for instance, they will get by way of KPF checkpoints or have some extent of contact if one thing goes improper. 

But, the issue is just not solely with the KPF’s murky chain of command, but in addition the secrecy with which its backer operates. Since late 2001, the CIA has operated out of the Ariana Lodge, between the Presidential Palace and the US Embassy and NATO/US army headquarters. In contrast to the US army, it cannot be contacted by Afghan MPs or their constituents, the media or NGOs. Once more, in contrast to the army which publishes its coaching and authorized manuals, we have no idea whether or not company operatives get coaching within the Legal guidelines of Armed Battle or are disciplined for breaching them. The one monitoring of the CIA is in the USA and is home, by way of the Senate and Home Intelligence Committees. Furthermore, totally different US laws governs the CIA and the army. The CIA, versus the army, has in depth license to run secret programmes and the federal government is legally restricted from offering details about them. This has additionally meant the NDS is excluded from monitoring by the US Particular Inspector Basic for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), one in every of its officers informed AAN, as a result of its funding comes from the CIA. The company can also be not topic to human rights vetting procedures underneath America’s Leahy Regulation, which proscribes using American taxpayer dollars to help, practice or equip any overseas army or police unit perpetrating gross human rights violations. (See AAN reporting on using this regulation towards the late Common Razeq, former police chief of Kandahar province and reporting on the CIA in Afghanistan (right here  and right here).

What occurs subsequent?

Within the early years of the intervention, hubris and ignorance led to many civilians being focused, detained and tortured by the CIA and its allies (in addition to by the US army) for unfathomable causes. One would assume these days have been lengthy over. But, the reported presence of an American on the home the place the six civilians have been killed on 30 December 2018 suggests this was not the work of a ‘rogue group’, however authorised. From a counter-insurgency standpoint, the killings in Zurmat make no sense in any way; they’ll hamper makes an attempt to curb Haqqani affect in Zurmat district. The killings look to be the consequence of dangerous intelligence and the shortage of even rudimentary information of provincial politics and army historical past. They’re additionally the consequence of the secrecy and lack of accountability surrounding each the CIA and the Khost Safety Forces, which make abuses and breaches of the Legal guidelines of Conflict extra more likely to occur. 

Who ordered these killings and why must be investigated and people accountable held to account. Additionally, of fast concern to civilians within the province is the suggestion that the KPF is working a ‘kill listing’. If Afghans are to not worry extra extrajudicial killings from this and comparable forces of their nation, there must be a full, public and judicial investigation into the deaths of the six males in Surkai village on 30 December. 

(1) In addition to the KPF having a report of committing extrajudicial killings, one good friend of the household from Zurmat stated that, whereas he was sitting with elders from Sharana, acquired a name from somebody figuring out himself because the “secretary of Tanai,” presumed to be Nemat Tanai, commander of the KPF. He reportedly warned the elders to not maintain the massive memorial service they have been planning and stated there have been 12 extra individuals from Ghulam Muhammad’s household who must be eradicated (“Bayed gilim jam shawa”).

(2) Darwar advised the Submit he was taken together with his brother to Camp Chapman the place he was “interrogated by Afghans, however People fingerprinted him and scanned his eyes, speaking with him by way of an interpreter.” His uncle who lived subsequent door appeared to have been the goal of the raid. He purchased and bought Kalashnikov rifles, his kinfolk stated, “hardly the high-level sort of suspect the CIA sometimes targets,” reported the Publish. He was additionally detained and was nonetheless unaccounted for when the Publish reported the raid two months later. 

(three) The killing of Naim Faruqi brings to thoughts the focused killing of one other civilian who had large potential for peace-making, however was tarred by his having been a pre-2001 Taleban commander, Zabet Amanullah. He was killed whereas campaigning as an agent for his nephew within the 2010 parliamentary elections in Takhar province. Our granular investigation revealed the extent of the dangerous intelligence behind the concentrating on.