I bookmarked a news report few months back, when Pakistani Army and Pakistani Taliban militants were going back and forth at each other without any definitive result. Then came a voluntary tribal militia, known as Lashkars, that aimed at securing the villages from the militants.
The attacks from the Pakistani Taliban and their cult made the lives of villagers threatened. The consequence of the military operation of Pakistani Army against P. Talibans and Taliban’s resistence was burden upon these poor villagers. The Tribal leaders based on their tribal shura (consultation) decided that their villages needs to be defended and secured. The leaders called for volunteers to pick up arms and defend their families and villages. The Pashtun tribesmen armed themselves against Pakistani Taliban, and took upon themselves to secure, relieving the Pakistani Army from their operation.
What a modern sophisticated, a well-trained and discipline army could not do; a volunteer force of tribesman with rifles and AK-47 achieved the goal for the Pakistani forces and for their villages.
Spokesman for Pakistani Major General Athar Abbas said:
“The military — in areas like Bajaur and Dir and part of Khyber — is encouraging these people to expel these militants and terrorists. They are so deep-rooted and widespread it may not be possible for the government and law enforcement agencies to completely get rid of them. Lashkars in Bajaur and Upper Dir — they are pretty successful, they are resisting, expelling all the Taliban.”
Can America use the same tactic in its fight against Afghan Taliban? Although the nature, agenda and the character of Afghan Taliban is different from the Pakistani Taliban, making Afghan tribal leaders in alliance with the security forces and treating them with respect can change the attitude of the local tribesman. Engaging with tribal leaders, voicing in their tribal jirgas and shuras, promising them security in return of keeping their village and tribe clean from Taliban, and fulfilling those promises if tribal leaders fulfill their part, can improve public sentiments towards the foreign troops.
US Forces cannot win if widespread sentiment in Afghanistan views NATO forces as the occupying force. They need Afghan public support, and that means Afghan people! Not just support from one city or two, or people sitting and enjoying their luxurious life having no concern of the local people whatsoever.
If people’s need for living is provided, there won’t be common people fighting US forces because of unemployment, or because their poppy fields were burned. US government should seriously pressurize the Afghan government regarding corruption. The needs of the people should be fulfilled by providing them public services. Trust between government and its people needs to be established! For that engaging tribal leaders is imperative and only then Afghanistan can prosper.
Afghanistan has lived through many wars and destruction, its time people of Afghanistan should be able to live their lives without any geopolitical involvement. Afghan people should be equipped with a system that can make their country stable and prosperous.
Bookmarked News report below:
Private armies on frontline of Pakistan war
By Sajjad Tarakzai (AFP) – Jul 11, 2009