The Afghan National Army still isn’t ready for prime time.
The Afghan National Police are more likely to shake you down at a check point on the highway than do any silly cop stuff like fight crime or lock up criminals. The most gung ho Police Mentoring Team can’t fix the courts and the jails.
The National Directorate of Security gets mentored by whom, exactly?
Afghan National Security Forces need more help than we can give them and they can absorb between now and Obama’s declaration of “Peace With Honor.”
So how ’bout we spread some love to sub-national Security Forces at the provincial, district, and tribal levels?
I hate the New York Slimes. I hate linking to them.
I don’t hate Dexter Filkins.
Reader’s Digest version:
The American and Afghan officials say they are hoping the plan, called the Community Defense Initiative, will bring together thousands of gunmen to protect their neighborhoods from Taliban insurgents. Already there are hundreds of Afghans who are acting on their own against the Taliban, officials say.
“The idea is to get people to take responsibility for their own security,” said a senior American military official in Kabul, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “In many places they are already doing that.”
The first phase of the Afghan plan, now being carried out by American Special Forces soldiers, is to set up or expand the militias in areas with a population of about a million people. Special Forces soldiers have been fanning out across the countryside, descending from helicopters into valleys where the residents have taken up arms against the Taliban and offering their help.
One of the most striking examples of a local militia rising up on its own is here in Achin, a predominantly Pashtun district in Nangarhar Province that straddles the border with Pakistan. In July, a long-running dispute between local Taliban fighters and elders from the Shinwari tribe flared up. When a local Taliban warlord named Khona brought a more senior commander from Pakistan to help in the confrontation, the elders in the Shinwari tribe rallied villagers from up and down the valley where they live, killed the commander and chased Khona away.
The feud between the Taliban and the Shinwari elders caught the attention of American officers, who sent a team of Special Forces soldiers to the valley. This reporter was unable to reach the interior of the valley where the men live, so it was difficult to verify all of the elders’ claims.
Both the Shinwari elders said that “Americans with beards” had flown into the valley twice in recent weeks and had given them flour and boxes of ammunition. (Unlike other American troops, Special Forces soldiers are allowed to wear beards.)
American officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said they intended to help organize and train the Shinwari militia. They said they would give them communication gear that would enable them to call the Afghan police if they needed help.
Read the whole thing.
That ODA working with the Shinwari are having some hellacious adventures. Allowing their story to be told could persuade, change and influence elements of the domestic target audience in ways beneficial to U. S. Army Special Forces and maybe even beneficial to “victory.”
UPDATE 1124090215: Beaucoup links
A question of tribal policy, November 24, 2009 12:00AM
Secret U.S. plan to support Afghan militias echoes Canadian general’s ideas, Monday 23 November 2009
Gravediggers Disinter Tribal Militia Corpse, November 23, 2009
US pours millions into anti-Taliban militias in Afghanistan, Sunday 22 November 2009 18.48 GMT