Helmland: Trouble on All Fronts
The Taleban may not be the only, or even the worst, problem Helmand is facing.
Corrupt police have been implicated in a wave of lawlessness in Helmand, which is fueling support for the Taleban – who, growing numbers of local residents believe, would restore order to the region.
The Helmand authorities last weekend arrested 35 highway police who have been charged with armed robbery. The group had allegedly been extorting money from motorists on the road from Lashkar Gah to Kandahar.
“We were taking money from vehicles,” one of the accused told IWPR, on condition of anonymity. “We took between 10 and 30 afghani per car (20 to 60 US cents) and more from trucks – up to 1,000 afghani (about 20 dollars). We had permission from our commanders. We collected the money, then gave it to our commanders, who divided it up.”