Conflict & Justice

Recruiting militias in Afghanistan

The U.S. and its Afghan government allies are planning to give money, guns, and communications equipment to Afghan militias and in return the thinking goes get some help fighting the Taliban. The goal is to get help in rural areas which are directly controlled or threatened by Taliban insurgents. In Iraq, the U.S. put tens of thousands of Sunni militias on its payroll and that resulted in a drastic reduction in violence there. This counterinsurgency analyst says similar tactics might succeed in Afghanistan, and this is a classic counterinsurgency tactic. He says there's a potential danger because these groups have been hard to control in the past, and this is why additional American troops are important, and as long as this is part of a comprehensive solution rather than a standalone measure. He says the long term goal is to bring these militias under the authority of the Afghan government. This former Afghan Interior Minister worries that will never happen. He says the U.S. and NATO should concentrate on building up Afghan security forces and President Karzai apparently agrees. This analyst says there's reason to be skeptical about the militia plan, especially because the Taliban is not a foreign force like Al Qaeda in Iraq. He says the U.S. has already spent huge amounts of money supporting tribal forces in Afghanistan and they've proven to be a problem for the Afghan government. Karzai has said Afghans have suffered at the hands of armed militias for so many years.

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