Afghan militiamen working for the US-led occupation forces have started to join the Taliban, fighting against the NATO troops, Press TV reports. The militiamen were trained and funded by the US army to take on the Taliban militants but many of them changed sides, Press TV’s Kabul correspondent said on Monday. At least 23 militiamen recently joined the Taliban in the western Farah province, and many of them handed their US-provided weapons to the Taliban, fighting in the northern parts of the country. Right from the beginning, the government of President Hamid Karzai opposed the US strategy but approved it after Washington applied intense pressure over his administration. Rights groups blame the US-backed militiamen for turning their weapons on Afghan civilians. Members of these militias have also started to rob local people. Farid Hamidi of Afghanistan’s Human Rights Commission told Press TV that the militiamen also kidnap people for ransom.
He said that "the government has the responsibility to disarm these militia groups and other illegal armed groups.”The US-led war in Afghanistan began in October 2001. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but insecurity continues to rise across Afghanistan, despite the presence of about 130,000 US-led troops. Roadside bombs and improvised explosive devices are by far the most lethal weapon Taliban militants use against foreign troops.
The high number of military casualties in Afghanistan has intensified opposition in the United States and other NATO member states to the protracted war in the country.According to the independent website, icasualties.org, 266 foreign soldiers, 201 of them US personnel, have lost their lives in Afghanistan so far this year. A total of 566 US-led forces died in Afghanistan in 2011. However, 2010 remains the deadliest year on record for foreign military casualties, with a death toll of 711. GJH/AS