US-Trained Afghan Militia Troops Desert to Taliban-Led Insurgents
A group of Afghan militia troops has joined the Taliban-led insurgents, officials said on Wednesday, apparently the first surrender of its kind by the force created as part of a U.S. initiative to keep the militants at bay and help break the battlefield stalemate.
There were few details and conflicting estimates about the number of men who changed sides in various parts of the restive northwestern Badghis province on Tuesday evening. One Afghan security official put the number at 41.
The force is known as the Afghan Local Police (ALP) and was set up under an initiative of the United States in 2010 during the peak of the war to help NATO coalition and Afghan troops prevent the influence and spread of the insurgency.
The ALP men who surrendered in Badghis were armed with assault rifles, said Ghulam Sarwar, a local lawmaker, citing a provincial official. Interior ministry and security officials confirmed the surrenders and the accounts provided by Sarwar.
“This [surrender] may not have a big impact on the security situation of the area, but raises doubts about the loyalties of those employed by Afghan Local Police,” Sarwar said.