US black ops in Afghan war: License to kill Taliban

  • Agencies, New York
  • Updated: Jul 27, 2010 00:36 IST

The Wikileak documents confirmed the existence of a US black ops team in the Afghan war, US Task Force 373. The US has attempted to conceal the existence of this elite unit even from allies engaged in Afghanistan.

Comprising Delta Force and Navy Seals commandos (and perhaps other special forces recruits), it focuses on either targeted killing of high-value Al Qaeda and Taliban operatives in Afghanistan or capturing them alive.

They hunt based on a list of enemies compiled by coalition forces, in militaryspeak, the Joint Prioritized Effects List. The targets are assigned serial numbers and number at over 2,000.

But its operations can go awry. Like in June 2007, when going after a Taliban commander, they killed Afghan policemen in error. Soon after, in a raid on a Libyan terrorist in Afghanistan, rockets launched at a madrassa claimed the lives of seven children.

More than 80 JPEL logs have been leaked and they establish that this force continues to operate successfully in Afghanistan.

The 373s appear to have bases in Kabul, Khost and Kandahar and when their targets are not marked for death, and are taken alive, they are often placed at the Bagram Theater Internment Facility.

Iran gives Taliban money, and arms, reveals leaked papers

The Wikileak documents say that US military intelligence believes Iran is waging a covert campaign against US-led forces in neighboring Afghanistan by providing money, arms, training and safe haven to Taliban insurgents.

Reports from Afghan spies and paid informants, accuse the Iranian government of directly supporting the insurgents.

These “threat reports” cannot be corroborated, the Guardian newspaper said in a report summarising the Iran findings, but high-level US diplomatic communications indicate concern over Iran's growing involvement in the country.

“Iran has taken a series of steps to expand and deepen its influence in Afghanistan,” reads a summary of a secret cable sourced to the US embassy in Kabul and written by a deputy general.

The cable relayed claims from within the Afghan foreign ministry that Iran was bribing Afghan MPs with millions of US dollars and working to oust reformist ministers.

A threat report dated February 2005 alleged Taliban leaders in Iran were planning attacks in Helmand and Uruzgan provinces. “The leaders travel into Afghanistan to recruit soldiers,” said the report.

It added the Iranian government had offered each leader about $1,740 for any Afghan soldier killed and $3,480 for any government official.

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