Afghan forces gunned down a policeman suspected of aiding the Taliban and further detained 30 other policeman Friday, including a top official.
U.S. troops backed the Afghan military in a Friday operation that ferreted out the link between corrupt local police and Taliban insurgents in Sangin, which is located in Helmand province, Reuters reports. Although the details provided are vague, an Afghan military officer said that the policemen in Helmand were suspected of sending over weapons and ammunition to Taliban fighters. Not only that, but the policemen were reportedly thinking about flat-out surrendering to the Taliban and switching sides.
“During our investigation we found some evidence they were helping the Taliban and we were afraid they may submit the district to the Taliban,” the Afghan military officer told Reuters. “We launched a joint operation with Americans and detained all of them.”
The U.S. was involved in the operation in an advisory role.
The acting police chief Mohammad Nabi was among those detained for supporting the Taliban. Nabi was filling in for Mohammad Dawood, who is currently resting due to injuries.
The Taliban has made major gains in southern Afghanistan and may even take back all of Helmand province, prompting the coalition to send over more forces to the region. In November, a Taliban attack killed 60 Afghan soldiers. A total of 70 Afghan soldiers defected and joined the Taliban.
The U.S. has left behind a total of $230 million worth of equipment and bases in Helmand.
Earlier in February, NATO forces killed an Afghan police officer in Kabul after the officer decided to shoot at a NATO delegation in the area. The officer was injured in the firefight. NATO forces did not suffer any losses. Afghan policemen turning against NATO and the Afghan government has been a depressingly common phenomenon over the last several years. The attacks even have a name: green-on-blue.
The NATO combat mission concluded in December 2014, but 13,000 troops still remain to provide training.
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