Washington: American-funded Afghan militias that were raised to protect villages from the Taliban have begun to prey on the residents, and in some cases they are beating, robbing and even killing with impunity, it has emerged.
Residents and officials warned that the rush to recruit local defense forces around Kandahar had given rise to poorly controlled armed gangs.
They listed armed robberies, thefts and assaults by the militias, and said the militiamen had become the main worry for many residents in the province``s rural districts, the Telegraph reports.
The militiamen called the Afghan Local Police (ALP), are chosen and commanded by Afghan authorities, but paid for and trained by the United States.
They are supposed to be uniformed, but many residents said they operated in civilian clothes before formally joining the ALP.
The paper quoted a 55-year-old farmer from Arghandab, as saying that a militia of 55 men had been recruited in January to patrol his village, which beat and insulted village people instead of preventing insurgents from entering the area.
Another person from Lako Kheyl in Zhari district, said a trader in livestock had been arrested by the force a month ago, the paper reports.
“They put him in their custody. They killed him and his body was found in a stream. He was going to Helmand to buy sheep. He had 10,000 dollars on him and they took it,” said the 47-year-old man.
Many Afghans view the forces as a throwback to the civil war when warlords maintained their own marauding private armies, the paper said.
They are also a reminder of Russian-backed militias that operated around Kandahar in the late 1980s.