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January 28, 2010
Can local militias fight the Taliban in Afghanistan?

Nora Bensahel, senior political scientist at the Rand Corporation, joins Daljit Dhaliwal for more on Western efforts to enlist Afghan tribesmen to fight the Taliban.

She discusses the likelihood of success with this strategy and the difficulties that arise from working with militias rather than central governments.

In northern Afghanistan, a local effort to drive out the Taliban has been highly successful. It’s in the province of Kunduz, where the German military, the Bundeswehr, has part of its force.

Our German partner, Deutsche Welle, went to the region to report on how the people there organized a militia to drive the Taliban out. Deutsche Welle takes a look at a grassroots campaign against the insurgents.

For more Worldfocus coverage of Afghanistan, visit our extended coverage page: War In Afghanistan.




Why don’t we just send Richard Simmons out to play patty cake with the Taliban? Thats what they see anyway when they see the weakness of the West. What was it that Bin Laden said? He said “when people see a strong horse and a weak horse they’ll always chose the strong horse.”

It wasnt Bush’s fault that the West went from Richard the Lionheart to Richard Simmons.


It is not that the Taliban will be stopped in Afghanistan it that they will be attack in thier country of Pakistan. Since the Taliban are made up of local tribe members who are paid to invade Afghanistan, something that they have been doing for centuries on thei own, now the Afghans can return the favor. Those Pakistan tribe members need to be taught a lesson if any of them live to fight another day.
Since the borders between these two countries have many holes in them it is little wonder that the Afghans have not seal those holes with the bodies of the invaders. Maybe send back the heads of these invaders to their mothers. It was not uncommon in the past that Pakistan tribe members would hang the heads of women and children from Afghanistan to show that they were in charge.
Tribal warfare is nasty and down right mean.


Petraeus interviews often have him talking about DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA and the commonality of local organizations (police departments, militias, etc.) in a federal system. Another side draws attention to moral hazard and adverse selection problems. Paying people to stop blowing themselves up may be good in the short-term, more uncertain in the long run. It’s an honest debate.

People usually talk (such as with Mexican police or the movie SERPICO) about paying people more from a central authority to lessen the temptation of taking side payments, while increasing internal enforcement to increase the price of taking side payments (and losing steady official pay). Looking at some of the high total compensation (that may not necessarily be explained by quality) of police in states like California and New York, natural monopolies (in this case on force) can possibly have other governance issues.

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