The [C.I.A. backed Afghan] units have also operated unconstrained by battlefield rules designed to protect civilians, conducting night raids, torture and killings with near impunity, in a covert campaign that some Afghan and American officials say is undermining the wider American effort to strengthen Afghan institutions.
American defense officials in Washington say the C.I.A. operations in Afghanistan are largely opaque to military generals operating in the war zone. The C.I.A.’s level of partnership has been declining as the Afghan intelligence agency and its forces grow more mature, the officials said. But as American military forces are set to draw down, the role of the Central Intelligence Agency is only likely to grow in importance.
This new report came a year after President Trump unleashed C.I.A. kill teams to hunt and kill high level Taliban operatives. These CIA missions will reportedly include both paramilitary personnel of the CIA along with U.S. special operations forces detailed to the agency for specific missions. The use of special operations forces allows hunter killer teams to call in air support, if necessary, as they hunt Taliban bomb-makers across the country.
It looks like someone at the C.I.A got carried away with this newly granted presidential authority to kill Taliban in remote corners of Afghanistan. I hope it was just the rogue Afghan units that carried out these atrocities highlighted in the Times report earlier today. Nonetheless, C.I.A. needs to do urgent house cleaning, take a step back to re-calibrate, and just stop replying on those Afghan units who commit these any atrocities with no rules of engagement. If not, this opens the door for the C.I.A. to become liable for these Afghan deaths and to war crimes charges in Afghanistan.