U.S. Military Leaders' Praise for Abdul Raziq

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

aikins spe27 p.JPG

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
Presented by

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.

Does This Child Need Marijuana?

Dravet Syndrome is a severe form of epilepsy that affects children. Could marijuana oils alleviate their seizures?

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Does This Child Need Marijuana?

Inside a family's fight to use marijuana oils to treat epilepsy

Video

A Miniature 1950s Utopia

A reclusive artist built this idealized suburb to grapple with his painful childhood memories.

Video

Why Principals Matter

Nadia Lopez didn't think anybody cared about her school. Then the Internet heard her story.

Video

A History of Contraception

In the 16th century, men used linen condoms laced shut with ribbons.

Video

'A Music That Has No End'

In Spain, a flamenco guitarist hustles to make a modest living.

More in Global

Just In