Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Armed mercenaries

There are shops burned at the foot of the road and the pavement of the road is bumpy. But that's nothing compared to how it was before the bazaar of Salar. Salar, in the province of Wardak, is a town located about 75 kilometers from the Afghan capital, near the main highway linking Kabul with southern Afghanistan and has become a regular venue where the Taliban attack convoys of trucks traveling on this road and carry on all supplies for the international troops.

In 2008 the Taliban staged such an offensive there that got burned dozens of trucks, whose skeletons were burned during time on either side of the road, as a reminder of Taliban rule in that area. U.S. troops head to the bazaar of Salar and do so with the slow movements that always characterized by ground troops in Afghanistan.

Shortly before arriving at the bazaar, a group of U.S. troops should get out of the tanks on foot to inspect the water pipes, big pipes crossing the road under the road to allow passage of rainwater and the Taliban used for explosive devices. "Now the bazaar is much better. Who cleaned it all burned vehicles, "asks U.S.

Lt. Col. Thomas Rickard to a merchant in the bazaar, who replied that he seems to have done" the American PRT. "PRT is the acronym Team Provincial Reconstruction, a formula that was implemented in Afghanistan, as its name suggests, to promote the reconstruction of its provinces. It is composed of military and civilian, and in each province a country takes over.

In the province of Wardak PRT is responsibility of Turkish forces, not Americans, but often the people in Afghanistan blame everything on the Americans, whether good or bad. Strolling through the bazaar of Salar, you realize the situation of extreme poverty of the people there. The sell packets of biscuits, spices, oranges, rubber boots second-hand theory is now in rainy season, "and little else, despite being a walk from the main road to Kabul.

Only a few shops seem to be better stocked with potatoes, onions, meat and tomatoes chuchurridos half. "The journey from Ghazni to Kabul costs 230 Afghanis," said a taxi driver. About 4 euros for about 150 miles each way. In the Afghan capital, going from one end another of the city and costs 150 Afghanis, little more than three euros.

Kabul, therefore, has nothing to do with the rest of the country. The owner of a petrol pump in Salt complains that they need is peace. "Without security, the price of gas goes up. Now worth 52 Afghanis per liter (0.88 cents)," he laments. At least twice a week, convoys of trucks with supplies passing through the road from Kabul to Kandahar in southern Afghanistan.

Men armed with Kalashnikovs and grenade launchers to escort accompanying them. In civilian dress, but in theory belong to private security companies. U.S. troops suspect that these private guards have some sort of pact with the Taliban to attack the convoys and that, increasingly suffering from an ambush, these vigilantes are a plus for your company.

These companies, however, are legal and therefore the Americans say they can not do anything, no one is clear what will happen to all those armed mercenaries once international troops handed over to the Afghan army and police responsibility security in the country.

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