For a while now, Uruzgan province in central Afghanistan has been slipping into chaos. Among the nine elected officials that represent the province, just five survive and live in Afghanistan; the rest have been assassinated or have sought asylum.
In light of deteriorating security conditions, pro-government militias such as the unit commanded by Abdul Hakim Shujayi—a commander of a U.S. Special Operations Forces-trained security force now accused of killing as many as 128 civilians—are being lauded as a bulwark against the rising insurgency after NATO troops depart. An increasing number of men like Shujayi continue to operate outside the reaches of the central government in Kabul, running remote districts as fiefdoms.
Former President Barack Obama’s 2014 State of the Union speech declared our war in Afghanistan to be over, but this also means that more and more of the fighting will be carried out off the public record, by the likes of men like Shujayi.