Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login
Site Notices
1/25/2018 7:38:29 AM
Posted: 11/11/2001 2:11:19 PM EST
[size=4]How to turn Taliban warlords into allies[/size=4] Updated on 2001-11-11 06:06:55 LONDON (Agencies): If we hope to win the fourth Anglo-Afghan War, we should abandon any notion that Afghans are inhumanly fierce creatures, eager to fight to the last man. Afghans are practical, and Taliban defections are possible. In 1991, Communists were swept from city after city as the Mujahideen paraded their prisoners-of-war through Peshawar. The victors came from eastern garrisons, from Ghazni to Jalalabad. In contrast, none of their prisoners - miserable, beardless youths in fuzzy Russian uniforms - were easterners. They were Afghan Tajiks, Uzbeks, Turkomen or Hazara - minorities from up north. Where were the Pashtoon soldiers who had fought for the Communists? They were back home with Mum and Dad in neighbouring villages, wearing civilian clothes, with their uniforms safely buried in the back garden. Local elders had come to their garrisons and spoken to their commanders. “It’s agreed. You are going to lose this time,” the elders explained, so the local boys went home and called in sick. As a result, many garrisons fell without a shot being fired. In Afghanistan, kinship outranks political loyalty and even religion. This is good news for the West, which should use this knowledge to encourage defections from the Pashtoon-dominated Taliban. There are [u]four types of Afghans who might loosely be called Taliban[/u]. [u]First[/u], there are the old mullahs of the Taliban ruling council. [u]Second[/u], the teenaged robots programmed in Arab-funded religious training schools in Pakistan. Both these groups consist of rock-solid ideologues whose version of Islam is very Arabised and therefore essentially foreign to Afghanistan. Far more numerous are members of the [u]third[/u] group: Taliban soldiers such as the scrappily-bearded teenager who, a few years ago, threw his Kalashnikov over his shoulder and swaggered up to me as I changed a tyre on the road out of Kabul. “My father has a half-acre farm,” he told me. “He has 10 children and my mother to feed. I don’t want to kill the northerners, but the commander gives me enough to eat. Give me a shovel and a dollar a day, and I will tell the commander to stuff his machinegun.” The [u]fourth[/u] group - and the most important - are the middle-aged, veteran commanders from the war against the Russians. They were recruited by the Taliban because the mullahs, the robots and the unemployed cannot command armies. Taliban in name only, these shrewd, battle-scarred men have good career prospects as local warlords in a kinder, gentler, post-Taliban Afghanistan. - continued -
Link Posted: 11/11/2001 2:12:34 PM EST
Afghanistan’s tribal identities, pecking orders and traditions date back to the time of [b]Herodotus[/b]. The Soviet Union and the Taliban both tried to destroy this system, which they correctly saw as a bulwark against ideology. Yet it was strong enough to have negotiated the bloodless collapse of Communist cities in Pashtoon areas. For a Pashtoon, loyalty has more layers than a sticky baklava sweet. You can be a member of a political party but, above all, you belong to a tribe, led by much-loved elders. You may have one layer of loyalty to your employer, and another through belonging to one of the mystical Sufi sects that venerate saints and their descendants. Your farm may have been rented for centuries from the same family of local khans. So, if you are a Pashtoon, you will have many ties binding you to friends, neighbours and colleagues. [u]And almost all of them outweigh allegiance to the Taliban mullahs and students, who most Afghans quietly admit are ideological nutters and busybodies[/u]. Key Taliban commanders are likely to defect if they have enough encouragement from their broad circle of loyalty, together with money and guns to protect themselves from Taliban reprisals or the Northern Alliance. But - and here’s the catch - the deal-making must be done by Afghans themselves. Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, cannot join a tribe or insinuate his way into the complex skein of relationships that Afghans call a qaum. So, the West needs Afghans with respectable tribal connections to turn the commanders; then the unemployable will happily follow. Those two groups, plus their aunts, cousins and in-laws in each qaum, will vastly outnumber (and overrun) the Arabs, the mullahs and the robots. Before his execution last month, Abdul Haq hoped to do just that, even though he feared that the allied bombings and heavy-handed support for the Northern Alliance would drive those commanders closer to the Taliban. Haq’s brutal lynching, and the narrow escape of the influential monarchist Hamid Karzai, are indications of how vulnerable the Taliban feel to defections. But internal negotiations cannot be rushed to suit Western political timetables and We had a face-saving opportunity to scale down the bombings for Ramadan - and we missed it. That does not augur well. See story at:[url]http://www.paknews.com/specialNews.php?id=124&date1=2001-11-11[/url] Eric The(There'sA[u]Fifth[/u]Group,Too-ThoseAlreadyDeadAndUnableToDefect)Hun[>]:)]
Link Posted: 11/11/2001 2:26:42 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/11/2001 2:19:57 PM EST by raf]
Top Top