Anti-Taliban tribal militias not paying off for the US as expected

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Jalalabad (Afghanistan), June 20 (ANI): A U.S. effort to get tribes to form militias to fight off the Taliban in return for development aid is not paying off as expected, a Los Angeles Times report has quoted sources, as saying.

Recently, 12 fighters of the Shinwari Tribe took on the Taliban in hope of regaining their snatched lands. They were all killed.

This incident highlights the pitfalls of establishing militias in Afghanistan, a country marked by tribal rivalries, age-old feuds and warlords.

In principle, the concept makes sense. Tribal militias represent a ready-made answer. In a society where firearms are prevalent, members are already well armed. And, they have an intimate knowledge of the lands they patrol.

But some experts and Afghan lawmakers believe a reliance on tribal militias to help combat an insurgency is the wrong approach, especially if governmental monitoring is scant or non-existent.

"These militias are becoming their own sources of insecurity in the country.They're not bound by any law and are not following any clear guidelines," said Ahmad Nader Nadery, deputy chairman of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission.

Although the U.S. military is promoting the militias, it is trying to coordinate its efforts with the Afghan government and wants oversight of the initiative to ultimately be in Afghan hands.

So far, the government has expressed wariness, preferring to see tribal militias folded into the police force. The militias are not armed by the U.S. and rely on their own weapons.

"This is a very dangerous game. Who is responsible for these militias? Who will save them if the Taliban attack them? It's a nice dream, but I think these militias are a failed formula," said Sayed Ishaq Gailani, a lawmaker and head of a party that backs President Hamid Karzai. (ANI)

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