Sunday, November 29, 2009

U.S. reassesses Taliban

The Taliban leaders are inspired by a harsh religious doctrine, but the U.S. is reassessing whether its troops are. Western officials believe that most Taliban troops are fighting to earn a living or for personal grievances. If they can be offered a living outside the rebellion, they can be peeled away from it. This is Gen. McChrystal’s strategy. It was, with the surge, successful in Iraq. Winning enemy troops over requires treating them with respect. It may mean letting tribal elders be intermediaries. It means local application, not a heavy-handed or one-size-fits-all procedure by the national government.

The chief difficulty of instituting the strategy in Afghanistan is that the national government is so corrupt and incompetent, that it lured away thousands of insurgents on false promises of jobs and protection, left them in the lurch, and finds them back in the trenches now embittered (Agand Gopal, Wall St. J.,

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