Achin (Afghanistan), Nov. 22 (ANI): Hoping to spur-up a large-scale tribal rebellion against the Taliban in Afghanistan, American and local officials have started supporting independent militias which are defending their neighbourhoods from Taliban insurgents.
American and Afghan were encouraged to support the growth of armed militias across the Taliban heartland in the southern and eastern parts when leaders of anti-Taliban militias in Kunduz Province met with the Afghan government's intelligence chief in Kunduz this month.
The American and Afghan officials are hoping the plan, called the Community Defense Initiative, will bring together thousands of gunmen to protect their neighborhoods from Taliban insurgents, The New York Times reports.
By harnessing the militias, American and Afghan officials hope to rapidly increase the number of Afghans fighting the Taliban.
"The idea is to get people to take responsibility for their own security. In many places they are already doing that," said a senior American military official in Kabul.
However, the risk associated with the anti-Taliban militias is that they could turn on one another, or against the Afghan and American governments.
The Americans say they will keep the groups small and will limit the scope of their activities to protecting villages and manning checkpoints.
For now, they are not arming the groups because they already have guns.
But American and Afghan officials say they are also planning to train the fighters and provide communication equipment.
The Americans also say they will tie them directly to the Afghan government.
These checks aim to avoid repeating mistakes of the past - either creating more Afghan warlords, who have defied the government's authority for years, or arming Islamic militants, some of whom came back to haunt the United States. (ANI)