Afghanistan, February 2013: Anti-Taliban Militias

Recently, Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai ordered U.S. forces to leave Wardak province, partly in response to U.S.-funded militias in the region accused of "torturing, harassing, and murdering" ordinary civilians. The U.S. has been training and funding tribal militias in Afghanistan for years, hoping to emulate the success of a similar strategy in Iraq. Journalist Vikram Singh has been been tracking these militias across Afghanistan over the last few months and says that "the accusations of torture and murder come as little surprise. ... In my visits to different zones where militias are active, I've seen their leaders operate as quasi-warlords. Instances of abuse are common and well documented. In provinces like Kunduz, there are districts with no government unit strong enough to challenge the militia's authority." In this essay, Singh focused on two different militia groups. One is in Logar Province, set up by a construction company owner angry at the killing of his mother by the Taliban in 2012. The second group operates in the northeastern province of Kunduz, where it chased the Taliban away almost three years ago but did not disband afterward. The militia's leader, an ex-mujahideen called Nabi Gecchi, has now started taxing the local population to finance its operations. Singh, a journalist based in Kabul, is a part of Babel Press.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Jonathan Bachman / Reuters

    Top 25 News Photos of 2016

    The past 12 months have been an eventful time for news stories, from the unpredictable and tumultuous U.S. presidential election, to continued war and terror and refugees fleeing to Europe, to a historic World Series win for the Chicago Cubs, and so much more.

  • Matt Eich

    A Hidden American Anger

    Life in Ohio's proud but economically abandoned small towns

  • Thomas Mukoya / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: 11/26–12/2

    Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska, a beard and mustache competition organized by the Bangalore Beard Club, wildfires in Tennessee and Israel, Cubans mourn Fidel Castro, a monkey buffet in Thailand, and much more.

  • NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team

    2016 Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar

    Every day until Sunday, December 25, we’ll present one new image of our universe from NASA’s ‘scope.

Join the Discussion