Statement Submitted with regards to Maj.

Jason Brezler’s BOI I am Paul Anthony Davies, a British Citizen who was serving alongside Kilo Company, 3/8 USMC on FOB Delhi in July 2012. I was working as Head of the civilian District Transition Team (DTT), and specifically as the Transition Advisor from the Helmand PRT, on contrac t to Her Majesty’s Government Stabilisation Unit (a joint unit of the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the Ministry of Defence and the Department for International Development). I had arrived in April 2012, and had a few weeks with 3/3, before they rotated out and Kilo 3/8, commanded by Captain Devin Blowes, arrived to take over the district. As British civilian, and an international aid expert, it was an extraordinary experience to have, and I especially enjoyed working for the 7 months of 3/8’s tour as Captain Blowes’ civilian counter-part on Governance and Development issues. It was also an enormous privilege to be embedded with the USMC, and I came away from the experience with a great respect for the Marines. Their professionalism, resilience, comradeship, and good humour in difficult circumstances was second to none. They made me feel extremely welcome. Captain Blowes in particular is, in my view, an exceptional officer, and it was clear that his men both respected and liked him immensely. I shared those feelings. Kilo 3/8 was a fantastic organisation to be a part of. The comments made below are taken from a personal memoire I wrote towards the end of my tour in January 2013. I left Helmand in February as a result of the draw down, and the subsequent closure of Delhi in April. I believe the best way to set the context, as I saw it, of the circumstances that surrounded Major Brezler’s actions in this matter, is to share these sections of my memoire, as it explains how Sarwan Jan came to be appointed DCOP in the first place, and accurately reflects our fears which were more than borne out by the tragic ‘Green on Blue’ incident in early August. It remains my firm belief that Sarwan Jan posed a real danger not only to the USMC and civilian personnel on FOB Delhi in late July, but also to the prospects of building the capacity of the Afghan police in Garmsir, and therefore the success of Transition overall. These fears we all shared in July 12, were of course more than borne out by the events of 10 th August. It was in this type of environment that I assume Captain Blowes reached out for information about Sarwan Jan from any and all sources he knew of with a view to form an opinion of the new DCOP and make adjustments to SOPs etc in light of this information. Background to Sarwan Jan’s appointment as DCOP for Garmsir, late July 2012: Wednesday, 11th July should have been just another day in Garmsir. I went with my team to the district centre office, where as usual the District Community Council was holding its weekly meeting. The Council has three sub-committees, designed to hold GIRoA accountable in the areas of Security, Development and Justice. This meeting was dominated by the concerns of the Justice Committee. They launched into a passionate assault on the character and attitudes of the Chief Judge, Hamidullah. He had long been seen as arrogant, abusive in his language, renown for his corruption (usually taking money from both parties in cases, and deciding in favour of those who paid the highest), and his lack of Pashtu language skills, which alienated local people. The previous year he had been embroiled in a sex scandal involving a female police officer, who also, allegedly, was a well-known prostitute. The Justice Committee said they wanted GIRoA to replace him. But they didn’t stop there. They went on to state that “all the justice actors are corrupted”, including the Huquq who had a key role in deciding on land disputes, of which there were many in Garmsir. It had become increasingly clear in the past few weeks that the judges and other Rule of Law officials were indeed some of the most corrupt representatives of GIRoA locally, so bad had it become that we routinely referred to them (in jest) in the team as the ‘injustice actors’. Given the strategic importance of Rule of Law to the HPRT, and the whole

governance project in Garmsir, this was a serious problem. People spent hundreds, in some cases thousands of dollars trying to secure justice, or bribe their way to what they saw was the right result, without securing either. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of cases didn’t even enter the formal Rule of Law arena, and were settled locally, in the community by elders or religious leaders. This worked because the decision-makers lived in the same community, and their reputation and honour depended on giving a fair and measured judgement. They were accountable in other words. The problem is that many of those presiding in the informal sector lack any form of training in customary or sharia law. For us, what was alarming about this discontent was the association in local people’s minds of the formal justice sector, with the international effort. Hamidullah played on this. He reportedly told people that if they didn’t like his form of justice, and complained about him, “the Marines will kill you, and your families’. At the end of the meeting, the DCC agreed to sign a petition, which many of the GIRoA officials enthusiastically volunteered to co-sign, including some of the other justice actors, expressing their loss of faith in Hamidullah and the need to replace him. Prior to this they had taken a vote of no confidence in the Chief Judge, which went pretty much unanimously against him. We left the District Centre assuming that was the drama over, although clearly this was a significant development. We had been urging the DCC to become more pro-active: they had certainly been galvanised on this issue. Towards the end of the afternoon, however, Hamidullah turned up at FOB Delhi seeking refuge. He had a plasti-cuff attached to one wrist, and some very slight bruising to his ribs. He told a story of being grabbed from his office by the District Governor’s, as it turned out, ‘unregistered’ bodyguards, beaten, cuffed and driven out into the desert where, under orders from the DG’s cousin, Kareem, he claimed they prepared to execute him. According to the Judge, he managed to talk his way out of it, and walked for several kilometres back to the FOB. This story got everyone riled up on FOB Delhi, and the US Airforce rule of law mentor in our team, went over to see the US Marine Captain who was leading the Police Advisory Team. If true, clearly the District Chief of Police needed to take action against the bodyguards. Lt Col Masloom, with his white vest straining over an ample stomach, as usual preferred the course of inaction, perhaps to be fair to him on this occasion because, like me, he didn’t believe a word of Hamidullah’s story. My Afghan assistant called the district centre and spoke to Kareem, DG Fahim’s cousin, and would-be executioner (of the Chief Judge). Inevitably he told a different story. The Chief Judge had got wind of the discussions in the DCC, and had come into the compound cursing and swearing, and causing a scene. One of the DG’s bodyguards even told me the following morning that he had tried to grab an AK-47. This behaviour seemed to fit more readily with what we knew of the man: one of my colleagues said he thought he was bi-polar, and exceptionally arrogant. The slight to his honour could very well have caused a personal meltdown. The final straw came, Kareem said, when he was on the phone to the DG in South Korea, and Fahim overheard Hamidullah insulting him. He ordered the bodyguards to restrain the Judge, and physically escort him out of the District Government compound. This they did, claiming they removed the plasti-cuffs they had used at the outer vehicle checkpoint. Ultimately, we’ll never know what happened in those missing few hours, but the Judge’s story always struck me as pure fabrication. I heard that after he’d been expelled from the government building he made his way to the NDS compound, licked his wounds, came up with a story designed to do maximum damage to cover his loss of face, and secured the plasti-cuff he was

later proudly displaying when he came to the FOB. The Chief Judge remained in protective custody at the District Police HQ, and the next day was escorted to Lashkar Gar where he got to work selling his side of the story. My assistant and I, and our security team, went down to the District Centre office the following morning to see if we could get a better understanding of what had occurred. Mohammed Khan, the Executive Officer, had left with two of the bodyguards to go to the Police HQ to discuss the matter with the Police Chief and some of the elders from the DCC. Whilst we were at the DC, news came through that the bodyguards had been arrested. The remaining guys quickly mobilised, arming themselves, and putting their PKM machine gun on the roof. They were clearly very nervous and on edge. One was visibly shaking, expecting the worse. We told them to calm down. We would go to the Police HQ and try and resolve things. One guy said, “If even my father comes through that gate I will shoot him”. They clearly expected the Police to show up and arrest them. The potential for a ‘green on green’ at the heart of Garmsir’s distric t government was very real. Fortunately, it didn’t come to that, and the Police Chief decided once again to take no action, and later released the two bodyguards. The previous week, one of the DG’s bodyguards had been detained on the Chief Judge’s orders. He claimed the boy had been smoking marijuana in the Judge’s bedroom, and had refused to either stop or leave when challenged. The boy’s position, was that the Judge had propositioned him for sex, and when he had refused the Judge had fabricated the dope smoking story. Both the DCC and the bodyguards had been aware of this incident, and saw it as wholly unjust that this senior representative of the formal justice system could so flagrantly manipulate official rule of law processes to assert his power, and protect his own abusive behaviour. Coming on top of the long history of abuse of position, this incident was probably one of the factors that had finally caused the DCC to take action on the Wednesday. Later that week a formal investigation team, some representing the Attorney General’s office from Kabul showed up in the district. Their approach to the task brought to mind the Monty Python’s take on the Spanish Inquisition, rather than a serious and professional attempt to get to the bottom of the case. The incident was seen as an assault on the authority and dignity of the formal justice sector, and it was clear they had completely taken the Chief Judge’s side. The investigation focused on the inaction on the DCOP, and what they saw as the lynch mob antics of Fahim’s bodyguards, who, since they were unregistered, had no right to carry weapons. Understandably they had long since fled, together with Fahim’s cousin Kareem, his unofficial local enforcer. The DCOP, Masloom, was swiftly ‘sacked-promoted’ to head the Human Right’s Commission in Lashkar Gar, and Hamidullah assigned to another district. Fahim was effectively suspended as Garmsir’s DG, having to remain in Kabul when he eventually returned from South Korea to ‘resolve his issues’ as it was euphemistical ly referred to. In January 2013, he eventually secured appointment to the even more prestigious district governorship of Marjah, something he achieved with SMA’s support, and the discrete payment of US$ 100,000 according to the rumour we heard. Back in the summer of 2012, these tragi-comics proceedings left the District administration fatally weakened and leaderless, at the height of the fighting season, a consideration that didn’t seem to weigh heavily on the minds of the GIRoA officials calling the shots.

Sarwan Jan comes to Garmsir Towards the end of July we heard that a new DCOP had been appointed, a certain Sarwan Jan, who had behaved so badly in his previous incarnation in that role, in another district, that he had been removed by the Marines. Allegations against him included operating illegal checkpoints, extorting money, abducting and abusing children, and supplying weapons and police uniforms to the enemy. In the light of the rash of ‘green on blues’ that was to hit Helmand in the summer of 2012, this last was of particular concern. When the current (Jan 2013) Police Advisory Team commander on Delhi heard the news all the way out in Hawaii, the Garmsir veteran said he hung his head in disbelief. Sarwan Jan’s appointment to another DCOP positio n was utterly inexplicable to him. The re-cycling of corrupt, predatory and untrustworthy (in terms of the insurgency) senior police officers is one of the most disturbing and mission-defeating aspects of the current intervention. During one of his first Security Shura’s Sarwan Jan looked uncomfortable at the head of the table, as his eyes swept the room, trying to size up the company. At one point he commented, “These people are bad”, referring to the people of Kharoti who had just been arbitrarily (and i llegally) banned from their traditional practice of watering their fields at night by the Afghan Army. “I have no doubt you will hear them start to complain that I am taking and sexually abusing their children. That will be a lie”. His comments fell on a s tony, and dis-believing, silence. Knowing his past record, it seemed that he protested too much. I hope these comments shed some light on the circumstances, and feelings, on FOB Delhi in July 2012. If you require any further information, or responses to direct questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Signed:

Paul Davies Phnom Penh, Cambodia 23rd October 2013 Email: XXXXXX (Removed by Foreign Policy)

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful