U.S. Military Leaders' Praise for Abdul Raziq

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American officers in Afghanistan have had some glowing things to say about the southern Afghan warlord who may also be guilty of mass murder

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Abdul Raziq / Kandahar Media Information Center

The U.S. has given millions of dollars' worth of training and equipment to one of southern Afghanistan's most powerful warlords, a man named Abdul Raziq, to help fight the Taliban. But Raziq, long suspected of corruption and drug smuggling, may also be guilty of mass murder, according to an investigation by The Atlantic. Raziq is well known among U.S. military leaders, some of whom have praised the warlord and his tactics in the media, calling him a "folk hero" as well as a "mad dog on a leash." These quotes illustrate how U.S. officers in Afghanistan view their man in Kandahar:

"He's become a folk hero. Afghans see him as the Afghan solution to their problems." - Col. Jeffrey Martindale, U.S. Army, quoted in The Wall Street Journal

"Is it a long-term solution? That's for others to decide. But it is a pragmatic solution... He's Afghan good-enough." Maj. Gen. Nick Carter, British Army and former top NATO commander in southern Afghanistan, quoted in The Washington Post

"He's like this Robin Hood figure who appears from nowhere, takes money and uses it to meet [the people's] needs." - Lt. Col. Andrew Green, U.S. Army, quoted in The Washington Post

"We're trying to promote integrity by watching his operations a whole lot more closely, but we don't want him to stop doing all of the good things that he's doing. We want to capitalize on his leadership." - Col. Robert Waltemeyer, U.S. Army, quoted in The Washington Post

"Colonel Razziq is trying to make some changes that allow traffic to move more smoothly. I am very optimistic that with the plans that I've heard, we can increase efficiency and decrease corruption." - General Stanley McChrystal, former head of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, quoted by Reuters

"If you need a mad dog on a leash, he's not a bad one to have." - Unnamed U.S. official, quoted in The Washington Post

"I have a clear strategy: When the enemies are killing us, we shouldn't be giving them flowers." - Abdul Raziq, quoted in The Wall Street Journal
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Matthieu Aikins has been reporting from Afghanistan since 2008 for such publications as The Atlantic, Harper's, The Walrus, and The Guardian. He splits his time between New York and Kabul.

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