Lo allego interamente.
The French Defence Minister was called on today to give an urgent account to Parliament of the Taleban ambush that led to the deaths of ten soldiers in Afghanistan.
As the Socialist Party reacted with anger to The Times report, the ministry said that it had long been aware of “rumours” that linked Italian bribery to the ambush in Sarobi, east of Kabul in August 2008. The reports had no basis, it said.
Jean-Marc Ayrault, the Socialists’ parliamentary leader, told Hervé Morin, the Defence Minister that the denial was not enough. “This is very serious, if it is true, and I ask the minister to come in the immediate future before the Defence Committee to explain and tell us what information he has,” said Mr Ayrault.
“If operations of this type are being used to administer certain areas . . . distributing money to the Taleban creates a general problem for the co-ordination of military operations,” he added.
Socialist MPs, who voted this year against the continuing presence of the 2,900-strong French contingent in Afghanistan, said that the reports appeared to reflect the failure of the Nato operation there, which they call an army of occupation.
While the military dismissed talk of bribery, an unnamed senior Afghan army officer in Kabul told Agence France-Presse, the French national news agency, that all forces in the Nato operation except the British and Americans paid the insurgents.
“We knew that Italian forces were paying the opposition [fighters] in Sarobi so they would not be attacked. We have information on similar agreements made in the western Herat province by Italian soldiers under Nato command there,” the army officer said on condition of anonymity.
Grieving relatives of the French soldiers killed in the Sarobi ambush voiced outrage over what they see as shoddy command in Afghanistan. Joel Le Pahun, father of one of the soldiers who died at Sarobi, said: “This just makes the pain even worse. It reopens a wound that has yet to heal. We want the French officers responsible for what happened to be punished.
“If it turns out to be true the Italians did this, it would not do honour to their army or their Government. On top of that, the fact they failed to tell the French forces about it is truly catastrophic.”
Non-governmental organisations and experts on Afghanisan said that money had long been used to help to pacify Afghanistan, with payments to regional leaders sometimes reaching the hands of the Taleban.
Lorenzo Delesgues, director of Integrity Watch Afghanistan, said that the report of Italian payments was “credible and completely plausible . . . If the Italians did it, they are not the first.”
Private security companies paid insurgents for peace so it was logical that the armed forced did so too, he said. “All the Nato forces in Afghanistan were making payments,” he told The Times. “They do not pay the Taleban to be nicer. Payments go to local commanders so that they stay quiet,” he said.
The French Defence Ministry, which came under heavy criticism over the 2008 ambush, played down The Times report. “We have no element to confirm these rumours which have been circulating since August 19, 2008,” said Rear Admiral Christophe Prazuck, chief spokesman for the armed forces.
“The command organisation in the region, the permanent exchange of information between Italian, Turkish and French troops, enables us to say that what has come out in the British press is without foundation,” he said. “We had access to all the information the Italians had on what they were doing in Sarobi.”
Asked whether it was normal practice to pay the Taleban to avoid combat engagements, he added: “It is not French practice in Afghanistan in any case.”