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Canadian journalist's Afghanistan story now used to train intelligence analysts

In 2009, Canadian journalist Matthieu Aikins published a piece in Harper's Magazine about one of NATO's nefarious allies in Afghanistan.

A member of Razik's Border Police at the border crossing in Spin Boldak, Kandahar Province.(Photo/Matthieu Aikins)

He's one Colonel Abdul Razik, a ferocious tribal militia leader, connected with a gang of opium smugglers.

Which would make him a bad guy.

Except he also heads the Border Police Force in Afghanistan, which makes him a good buddy of NATO commanders who need someone like him to keep tabs on the Taliban.

Back then Rick spoke with Mathieu about his story and his methods for tracking down all his information, methods that intelligence analysts would apparently do well to emulate. 

At least according to the Washington Post. It's reporting that Aikins' story in fact has become a tool for training intelligence officers in Afghanistan: 

On their first day of class in Afghanistan, the new U.S. intelligence analysts were given a homework assignment.

First read a six-page classified military intelligence report about the situation in Spin Boldak, a key border town and smuggling route in southern Afghanistan. Then read a 7,500-word article in Harper's magazine, also about Spin Boldak and the exploits of its powerful Afghan border police commander.

The conclusion they were expected to draw: The important information would be found in the magazine story. The scores of spies and analysts producing reams of secret documents were not cutting it.

 

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