President Bush said this morning at National Defense University
As we deploy these reinforcements, America will take new steps to help the Afghan government mobilize more forces of its own. Along with the Afghan government, the United States and our allies are now launching a new initiative to double the size of the Afghan National Army over the next five years. We will also work to increase the involvement of Afghan tribes. Local Afghan forces were key to our successes in 2001 and 2002, when we combined the 21st century capabilities of the American military with the courage of Afghan fighters on horseback. In the period ahead, we will once again encourage Afghan security forces and Afghan tribes to take a leading role in building a democratic Afghanistan. The Taliban and al Qaida will not be allowed to return to power. The terrorists will suffer the same fate in Afghanistan that they are now suffering in Iraq – they will be defeated.
President Bush’s Troop Announcement covers a lot of ground, but I picked up on this part in particular, because it sounds like a reversal of Combined Security Training Command Afghanistan’s insistance that ANA and ANP monopolize the legitimate use of force. “Increasing the involvement of Afghan tribes” sounds a whole lot like encouraging the Pashtun clans to put their lashkars into the fight against Anti-Coalition Militants. Likely involves actually delegating some judicial power to the maliks and Jirgas. Karzai would be required to accept some devolution and decentralization.
“Increasing the involvement of Afghan tribes”, if they’re serious, will turn Irregular Warfare and Foreign Internal Defense in Afghanistan on it’s head.
I made this comment May 31:
My biggest heartburn with the way the Americans are molding the ANP is that we ignore local, district, and provincial irregulars and auxiliaries. We don’t even have a federal police force to model them after. We are arrogant enough to attempt to impose a Western-style national police force on Afghanistan, but not arrogant enough to appoint a Governor General and American judges and an American officer as Chief of the ANP.
The reasons we ignore them is previous difficulties with warlords and militias, and nervousness in Kabul about anybody else having legitimate recourse to force.
The Taliban is still around 90% ethnic Pashtun, and Pashtun irregulars would really be good to have, but Karzai is not secure enough to tolerate any such forces.
Maybe we will get some Sons of Afghanistan after all.