Afghan Educator Who Tore Up His Levels Vows To Battle Taliban Ban On Girls


Misplaced standing and a determined existence in Iran are driving hundreds of former Afghan troops — lots of them elite commandos skilled by the USA — to think about combating as mercenaries in Ukraine and different battlefields.

Many ex-Afghan safety personnel accuse the USA of abandoning them after the Taliban regained energy final 12 months. Additionally they say poverty and safety considerations are factoring into their selections to take a non-public Russian mercenary group up on its recruitment affords.

In response to WhatsApp messages considered by RFE/RL’s Radio Azadi, some former Afghan commandos are already making the transfer to hitch the Vagner Group, also called Wagner, a non-public paramilitary group that performs a outstanding function within the Kremlin’s battle in opposition to Ukraine.

We had no place to reside in Afghanistan anymore, as a result of the Taliban terrorists chased us.”

Others at present residing in Iran, the place hundreds of former Afghan troopers sought refuge following the Taliban’s seizure of their native Afghanistan in August 2021, say they’re residing a meager existence, resorting to handbook labor and even rifling via rubbish to promote to make ends meet.

It marks a serious turnaround for the previous members of the Afghan Nationwide Military (ANA) and its elite commando pressure, which had been skilled by the USA and Western allies and shaped the spine of the previous Afghan authorities’s efforts to defend the nation and fight the Taliban and the Islamic State extremist group.

Afghan troopers in Iran who’ve mentioned they plan to take Vagner up on its recruitment affords say they had been betrayed by the USA and the U.S.-backed Afghan authorities that they fought for. Many blame them for his or her present predicament.

The Taliban quickly seized management of the nation as the USA pulled out its forces from Afghanistan. With out U.S. help, Afghan forces rapidly capitulated, and lots of Afghan leaders fled overseas as Taliban fighters descended on Kabul.

“After the autumn of the nation’s traitorous presidential regime, [the United States] bought us out and surrendered the nation to terrorists (the Taliban),” one former member of the Afghan particular forces, who didn’t present his identify, mentioned in an audio recording posted on a WhatsApp channel subscribed to by former members of the Afghan army.

“We had no place to reside in Afghanistan anymore, as a result of the Taliban terrorists chased us,” he mentioned within the audio, which was posted on December 3. “A number of of our friends had been captured and beheaded, and we had been pressured to depart Afghanistan.”

No Life On The Run

RFE/RL was unable to independently confirm the soldier’s claims, however the extrajudicial killings of former Afghan army and authorities employees is well-documented, with 100 such slayings recorded within the first months of Taliban rule alone.

Additionally widespread and well-documented is the idea amongst former Afghan troopers, translators, and authorities employees that they had been deserted by their U.S. allies and that the previous Afghan authorities botched the battle effort and stole funds that had been allotted to the military.

These claims have been backed by a latest report by Enterprise Insider documenting that former Afghan officers smuggled practically $1 billion in gold and money in a foreign country as their authorities neared collapse.

In November, the U.S. Particular Inspector-Common for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) cited corruption as among the many elements that hastened the autumn of the Afghan authorities and paved the way in which for the Taliban to reestablish management of Afghanistan.

Tens of hundreds of Afghan troops who fought alongside Western allied forces over practically twenty years in Afghanistan are believed to have been left behind when the USA withdrew the final of its forces on August 30, 2021.

Whereas an estimated 80,000 at-risk Afghans had been airlifted out, those that weren’t needed to fend for themselves, resulting in considerations that tens of hundreds of U.S.-trained troops would haven’t any various however to flee the nation, or be a part of the Taliban or a regional adversary.

A lot of them went into hiding in Afghanistan prone to being hunted down by the Taliban, or fled overseas. By some accounts, as much as 30,000 former Afghan troopers made their technique to Iran.

Combating For {Dollars}

The previous soldier who mentioned his scenario on WhatsApp mentioned he fled to Iran for his security and had lived there for a number of months. After receiving phrase that the Vagner group was recruiting Afghans to combat in Ukraine, he mentioned he signed up.

“Afghanistan, NATO, and the USA introduced us in as younger males and deserted us,” he mentioned. “Russia began a program. They had been recruiting sure items and taking them to the battle in Ukraine. So, numerous our fellow troopers signed up, and we’re going to Russia quickly.”

One other former soldier, in an audio message posted on the identical WhatsApp channel on December 3, mentioned he and a bunch of colleagues had lately arrived in Iran with the intention of becoming a member of Vagner to combat for Russia in Ukraine after listening to concerning the mercenary group’s recruitment affords.

Severe safety and financial issues and excessive poverty and desperation have pressured them to do that for a chew of bread, to outlive, and to flee the pursuit and torture of the Taliban.”

He claimed that Iran was conscious of the recruitment effort and was even aiding the method of transferring Afghan troopers to Russia.

“We had been in Afghanistan, and there have been many rumors being unfold that former army personnel had gone to Russia via Iran,” the soldier mentioned, talking anonymously. “We registered right here in Iran. They transferred a couple of folks earlier than us.”

The soldier mentioned that former Afghan troopers had been being provided everlasting citizenship in Russia in alternate for combating in Ukraine.

The previous particular forces officer mentioned that his determination to signal on with Vagner was influenced by security considerations in Afghanistan, the place he mentioned he and his fellow troopers had lived in hiding and poverty for 14 months, and the possibility for a greater life for his household.

“We got here alone, however numerous those that had been transferred earlier are actually with their households [in Russia],” he mentioned. “We determined to go due to our scenario and that of our youngsters.

“We could not depart the home. Most of our associates had been arrested and killed, and most of them, like me, fled to Iran or Tajikistan,” he mentioned.

We perceive some Afghans could also be susceptible to [Vagner’s] financial inducements, however would warning anybody from becoming a member of within the unlawful invasion of Ukraine.”

The previous Afghan officer estimated that, primarily based on his conversations, some 2,500 Afghan troopers had left Afghanistan with the intention of going to Russia, the place he mentioned he was provided $2,500 for six months of coaching and $3,000 as soon as he goes to Ukraine to combat.

These figures correspond roughly with different reviews and testimonials about Vagner’s recruitment drive, which additionally say that Afghan particular forces troops and their households had been being provided secure haven and $1,500 a month to maneuver to Russia and subsequently combat in Ukraine.

Common Farid Ahmadi, a former commander of the particular operations corps of the deposed Republic of Afghanistan, informed Radio Azadi that he believes safety and monetary considerations are driving many former Afghan troopers to think about combating with Vagner.

“Severe safety and financial issues and excessive poverty and desperation have pressured them to do that for a chew of bread, to outlive, and to flee the pursuit and torture of the Taliban,” Ahmadi mentioned in a reside interview through Skype this month.

Radio Azadi has documented the lives of some former Afghan troopers residing in Iran, the place they are saying they’re reeling from their misplaced standing and dire monetary conditions.

Former Afghan particular forces commander Sayed Ahmad Nouri amassing rubbish in Iran.

Sayed Ahmad Nouri, 38, mentioned he used to function a particular forces commander in western Afghanistan however now has to gather rubbish in Mashhad to offer for his giant household.

Nouri laments that he used to direct a whole lot of troops and “tanks would transfer underneath my command, and I had full authority,” whereas serving with the ANA. Now, he mentioned, his household of 12 lives in a one-room condominium and “are sleeping on high of each other.”

Abdul Ahad Safi, a former rating official who headed a authorities division combating organized crime in Afghanistan’s Herat Province, now does handbook labor at a Mashhad workshop to help his household of 5.

He informed Radio Azadi that he can “barely maintain himself alive” as a result of “my revenue doesn’t cowl our bills.”

Former organized-crime fighter Abdul Ahad Safi doing manual labor in Iran.

Former organized-crime fighter Abdul Ahad Safi doing handbook labor in Iran.

Unhealthy Penalties

Except for Russia’s battle in opposition to Ukraine, a small variety of former Afghan troopers have been recruited to combat in different conflicts, together with for Iran in Yemen, and in Syria and even in Nagorno-Karabakh, in keeping with Ahmadi.

There was no proof that Afghan forces have truly reached the battlefield in Ukraine, and the nation’s safety service didn’t reply to queries despatched by RFE/RL relating to the likelihood that Afghans had been combating for Vagner in Ukraine.

In response to questions by RFE/RL, a U.S. State Division spokesman mentioned in written feedback that the division was conscious of unconfirmed reviews that the Vagner group is recruiting former Afghan troopers residing outdoors of Afghanistan.

“We perceive some Afghans could also be susceptible to [Vagner’s] financial inducements, however would warning anybody from becoming a member of within the unlawful invasion of Ukraine,” the spokesman mentioned, including that the Vagner group “is utilized by the Russian authorities to help its harmful and destabilizing international coverage, whereas trying to keep up deniability.”

Concerning claims by Afghan troopers that they had been deserted by the USA in Afghanistan, the spokesman acknowledged the difficulties Afghans face in leaving the nation, however mentioned, “We proceed to observe the financial scenario of Afghanistan and supply help, the place attainable, to the folks of Afghanistan as a part of our enduring dedication.”

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