Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Afghanistan's Latest Conspiracy Theory

Here's one you haven't heard about in Canadian newspapers.

Word is going around Afghanistan that NATO has been caught deliberately supplying weapons and ammunition to the Taliban. It's an account that's been carried on several Afghan news services.

The most common version of the story has one or more NATO helicopters dropping AK-47s, machine guns, rocket propelled grenades and upwards of half a million rounds of small arms ammunition and dropped off not 300-meters from the home of a major Taliban commander.

According to these reports, NATO has acknowledged that weapons were dropped by mistake and were seized by the Taliban but legislators in Kabul claim it was no accident. From Pajhwok Afghan News:

Internal Security Affairs Commission of the Wolesi Jirga or lower house of the parliament on Sunday blamed NATO and Afghan forces for supply of arms to the militants in southern Afghanistan.

However the NATO forces and Afghan intelligence in their statement said they had mistakenly dropped items which later were commanded by Taliban.

The parliamentary commission claimed the operation had not been a mistake and the sacks dropped in the southern province were arms the NATO forces offered to Taliban.

Zalmai Mujaddedi head of the parliamentary commission claimed NATO forces from Kandahar province carried several containers of arms to Taliban dominated areas in Arghandab district of southern Zabul province 27th or 28th of March.

In the past too there were some speculations that the foreign forces were supporting the militants in the country, he added.

NATO forces have branded the act as a mistake and that they were going to investigate and punish the perpetrators but yet there is no step taken, he added.

The commission did not accept the act to be mistake, he argued, local Taliban commander Mulla Muhammad Alam had already taken security measures and preparations in the area.

Hamidullah Tokhi representative of Zabul people in the parliament confirmed the Mujaddedi's remarks"I wonder how does Muhammad Alam on the same night comes to a house 100 meters from the site where the helicopters drop rockets, bullets Kalashnikovs, arms and food and logistics?." He added." I dont believe it is a mistake, if the helicopter made a mistake to drop the arms there then who brought Muhammad Alam to this neighborhood."

Foreign forces were working for their own interests, he reckoned, it is a preplanned thing and the arms were supplied to devastate Afghanistan."

Now I don't believe, for a minute, that NATO is supplying weaponry to the Taliban but that's not the important part of this story. The critical element is that it's been carried, apparently widely, through the Afghan media which can't help but increase suspicion that NATO is just another bunch of westerners in Afghanistan to further their own ends. The way things are going over there, that's the last thing we need.

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