In memory of
Abdul Salam, an Afghan villager, executed
On Tuesday, November 4, 2008
in the village of Maiwand 80 kms from Kandahar city. A U.S. defense contractor, Don Ayala, has been charged with killing Abdul Salam. Paula Loyd, a Wellesley-educated researcher, had begun interviewing villagers about the price of cooking fuel - a key indicator of whether insurgents had hijacked supply lines.
As part of a new U.S. military program that uses social scientists to improve the troops' understanding of the local population, Loyd began interviewing a gregarious stranger who approached her with a jug of cooking fuel in his hands. Salam was apprehended and had his hands tied behind his back being guarded by U.S. occupation soldiers. When word reached Ayala that his co-worker had been seriously burned, witnesses said Ayala walked up and shot Abdul Salam in the head, killing him instantly. The two contractors were part of the U.S. counter-insurgency Human Terrain Teams which employ social scientists. "There are bad people out there who didn't want Paula to succeed," said Steve Fondacaro, a retired colonel who runs the Human Terrain Systems program, a $250 million Pentagon initiative that has dispersed six teams of researchers - with two social scientists per team - to work with military units across Afghanistan.
The two members of the Human Terrain Team (Ayala on the left and his female co-worker)
Executed by contracted U.S. ground force member (on left above)