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The Rule of Law

Posted: Tuesday, Jul 9th, 2013

courtesy photo Bill Tanton poses with an Afghan police vehicle. Tanton worked with a private company to advise Afghan police until 2012.

Cottage Grove's Bill Tanton survives Afghanistan

Cottage Grove’s Bill Tanton was a homicide policeman in Sacramento, became an NCIC special agent, then finished his career in the police department and 'retired' in 2004.

He then worked for the FBI as a terrorism intelligence analyst and retired in 2012. Last week, the Sentinel caught up with Tanton to talk about his time in Afghanistan.

Q: So how did you get to Afghanistan?

A: On July 12, I was in Washington D.C. and took a position with a company called “Engility” as a law enforcement professional. My position was as an advisor to undercover Afghan national police officers…to advise, assist and mentor, but we also worked with Special Forces to assist them in working with those Afghan investigators and with other Afghan police elements that actively target terrorists.

Q: So how effective were your efforts?

A: They can be highly effective. When I was there we recovered tons of potassium-nitrate explosives, firing mechanisms and IEDs.

But the problem was the corruption in the judicial system. The prosecutors and judges were very corrupt, and they would be bribed by the Taliban to get their guys out of jail.

They tried to kill one of my investigators twice. Still, under those terrible conditions, they try to establish the rule of law in Afghanistan. Whether the judicial system is ready to accept that, that is the problem.

Kabul is a little more established, but out in the outer provinces like where I was, it’s a lot like the Wild West. It was very kinetic.

Q: Which means?

A: There were firefights. We got rocket attacks. We got RPGs. It happened frequently.

Q: They knew where you were and targeted you?

A: Oh yeah. In fact, the Taliban was all around us. They infiltrated the communities. They would threaten and intimidate the local communities.

For the complete article see the 07-10-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 07-10-2013 paper.

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