Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Human Rights

CIA-backed strike force units in Afghanistan

2 min

There are five militias that, says Human Rights Watch, come under only the nominal control of the Afghan intelligence agency, the NDS and do not “fall under the ordinary chain of command within the NDS, nor under normal Afghan or US military chains of command.” Rather, they are “recruited, trained, equipped, and overseen by the CIA.” Human Rights Watch also quotes UNAMA as to the “lack of transparency for command, control, rules of engagement, and policy framework” guiding these five ‘strike forces’. They are: 

NDS 01  

Operates in Afghanistan’s central region, in Kabul, Parwan, Wardak, Logar, and possibly other bordering provinces.

NDS 02

Operates in Afghanistan’s eastern region, in Nangarhar and possibly other bordering provinces.

NDS 03 (Kandahar Strike Force or KSF)

Operates in Afghanistan’s southern region, in Kandahar, Helmand, and Uruzgan out of the former compound of the late Taleban leader Mullah Omar, commonly referred to as ‘Mullah Omar’s house’ and by US forces as ‘Camp Gecko’. The late brother of former president Hamed Karzai Ahmad Wali Karzai reportedly oversaw KSF operations until his assassination in 2011.

NDS 04

Operates in Nuristan, Kunar, and other bordering northeastern provinces.

Khost Protection Force (KPF)

The oldest of the militias, the KPF developed out of a Khost-based militia made up largely of former PDPA officers, recognised as the 25th Division by the Ministry of Defence as part of the (pre-ANA) Afghan Military Forces. The 25thDivision escaped demobilisation because of its close contacts with US forces, and morphed into the KPF. It operates out of the CIA base, Camp Chapman in Khost, where, quoting UNAMA, Human Rights Watch says a KPF commander “participates in the weekly security meetings in Khost province, chaired by the provincial governor, alongside Afghan national security forces, which suggests some degree of information-sharing and tacit consent by the [Afghan] government of its operations.” KPF, says Human Rights Watch, reportedly has battalions in Sharana in Paktika province and Gardez in Paktia province, and is the largest of the paramilitary strike forces, with between 3,000 and 10,000 men and a network of informants.