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Tue Dec 18, 2012, 09:46 AM

Afghan army beset by desertions as Nato pullout looms


Afghan army beset by desertions as Nato pullout looms
AFP | 11 hours ago

JALALABAD: Far from home, poorly paid and discriminated against, Mushtaq and Sefadullah are among thousands of Afghans who are deserting the army in a worrying trend two years before Nato troops leave.

It is not that they have joined the Taliban. Like many, they simply got fed up with life in the army, fighting a war. So they went back to the eastern city of Jalalabad, where they both have blossomed in new jobs.

Mushtaq, which is a fake name, says he served in the relatively peaceful western province of Herat but was discriminated against for coming from the same ethnic group as the majority of the Taliban.

A Pashtun from Tora Bora where al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden hid after the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan Mushtaq said his officers treated him like a Talib.

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