US Relies on Corrupt 'Afghan Robin Hood'

Abdul Razziq keeps order in ways US can't
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 4, 2010 9:12 AM CDT
An Afghan border police officer in Spin Boldak guards in a post overlooking the neighboring Pakistani city of Chaman, Aug 10, 2009.   (AP)

(Newser) – Abdul Razziq is illiterate and corrupt. His network skims custom duties, facilitates drug trafficking, and smuggles contraband across the Pakistani border. Yet the 32-year-old is also essential to the war effort, bringing the kind of security to the city of Spin Boldak that has so eluded the US elsewhere. “If we didn’t have him, we’d be screwed,” one US Army officer tells the Washington Post. “It wouldn’t be this quiet.”

Razziq is a colonel in the Afghan Border Police, but in town people call him General Razziq, and shower him with adulation. “He’s like this Robin Hood figure who appears from nowhere, takes money and uses it to meet [the people’s] needs,” says one US infantry commander. Some in NATO want to oust him to crack down on graft, while others want to reform him into a more savory ally. But British Maj. Gen. Nick Carter says Razziq is absolutely necessary. “Is it a long-term solution? That’s for others to decide,” he says. “But it is a pragmatic solution. … He’s Afghan good-enough.”

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