|History and Biodata
The future of the Khost Protection Force, and others like it in various Afghan provinces, has been unclear as the C.I.A. withdraws from remote Afghan bases in concert with the broader drawdown of American combat troops from . Some of the units were earmarked to be handed over to the Afghan intelligence service, the National Directorate of Security, after this year (2014). The Khost Protection Force, which generally maintains a low profile, has until recently been one of the largest of several C.I.A.-sponsored paramilitary forces along the border. During the Obama administration’s troop surge in 2010 and 2011, some American news reports said it had carried out illegal cross-border raids, with support from armed American drones, to attack Qaeda and Taliban fighters in North Waziristan. (20141016)
Disbanding of CIA frontline Afghan counterterrorist forces in south and east Afghanistan:
750 members of the Counterterrorist Pursuit Teams in the Kunar region—home to the elusive Afghan al Qaeda leader Farouq al-Qahtani al-Qatari—and the 3,500-strong Khost Protection Force.
The Khost fighters have helped patrol the insurgent-heavy region along the border with Pakistan’s infamous Waziristan province, an area so heavily populated by Taliban, the Haqqani Network, al Qaeda and other militant networks that it’s frequently targeted by CIA drone strikes.
One of the first major CIA-trained units to be disbanded was the 900-man Counterterrorist Pursuit Team in the town of Shkin, in Paktika province next to Khost. A former senior Afghan intelligence official said the men were fired with no notice, given a severance payment, two rifles and told to leave. The soon-vacated site was then overrun by Taliban forces, who had to be driven out roughly a month later by the Afghan army. Karzai’s spokesman Faizi said the Afghan government had no advance notice of the firings, but later tried to recruit the Shkin forces into the ranks of Afghanistan’s intelligence service, in hopes of keeping them from selling their skills to the Taliban or someone else. “We tried to hire those militia for the same pay as the CIA,” he said. “But only a 100 or so said yes.”
In Kunar province, the Afghan army commander there is trying to keep history from repeating itself, by moving his troops to fill the key U.S. outpost and its nearby CIA base, before the Americans depart.
“I need to take that position, but I need more troops,” said Maj. Gen. Mohammad Zaman Waziri (Afghan National Army’s 201st Corps in eastern Afghanistan). Two U.S. officials said the CIA-trained paramilitaries at the Kunar base have been told of their imminent firing, and some have already reached out to the Taliban, possibly to reach a peace deal for when they no longer have Americans to pay or protect them.(20140505)
The CIA started recruiting and training these Afghan paramilitary groups only months after the intelligence agency first entered the country in 2001 ahead of invading U.S. troops, according to current and former U.S. and Afghan officials. They described the top-secret force in detail on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.