The Guardian is reporting
a scheme in which US-supported Afghan militias are being made to wear
'bright yellow reflector belts' so NATO forces can distinguish them
from Taliban fighters.
you worry the Taliban might catch on and use the sashes to their
advantage, don't worry. The report assures us that, "Officers count
them out and count them back in at the end of each day." Phew. Good
thing no one outside the Pentagon can create a yellow belt with a bike reflector on it. (Full story below)
from The Guardian's Jon Boone, in Kabul:
They are a secret tribal militia, the controversial creation of US commanders in Afghanistan
eager to buttress local opposition to the Taliban. So clandestine are
the units formed to protect villages in a critical valley in southern
Afghanistan that US officials and special forces commanders in Kabul
refuse to discuss them.
But the Guardian has learned that in one
important regard, the Local Defence Initiative forces are not so
secretive after all. As they patrol villages close to the key southern
city of Kandahar, the fighters are being forced to wear bright yellow
reflector belts so that their special forces mentors do not mistake
them for Taliban.
The garish sashes were introduced to
distinguish the non-uniformed militias from an enemy who favour the
same get-up of traditional Afghan garb and AK-47 slung over the
Mindful that the belts could become valuable currency
in a conflict where subterfuge and camouflage are standard tactics,
officers count them out and count them back in at the end of each day.