Afghan Government Reaches Out to Tribes

Afghan Government Reaches Out to Tribes - Jim Michaels, USA Today

Afghanistan's government has stepped up efforts to win the cooperation of tribal leaders to try to build security at the village level and fend off the Taliban. The strategy has the backing of coalition forces and is similar to a successful effort in Iraq, where powerful tribal leaders turned on al-Qaeda.

"We're coming back to recognize tribal leadership, to empower and acknowledge them as leaders within their communities," said US Army Brig. Gen. Michael Tucker, deputy commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan.

In Iraq, the tribal movement started in Anbar province, west of Baghdad, and eventually spread throughout the country. It helped isolate al-Qaeda from the local population.

"We need to leverage the tribal system in Afghanistan as was done in Iraq," said US Gen. David McKiernan, the top NATO commander in Afghanistan...

... "The Taliban are anti-tribal," ... "They are trying to destroy the tribal structures. ... This gives the Pakistani and Afghani governments a crowbar" to drive a wedge between the Taliban and the general population.

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