It is pretty well-established that the United States will send about 30,000 additional forces to Afghanistan next year. In addition, other nations may also contribute more to the fight. However, there is a new plan for winning the peace, which is to arm Afghan militias, in a similar move to the Awakening Movement in Iraq.
“The tribal militia idea that has been around for some time now is controversial; we are not onboard with that,” Mr. MacKay said in a recent year-end interview with The Canadian Press.
“Our preference is to continue with this more formal training process that leads to a more reliable, more professional soldier and Afghan national security force.”
The plan, is of course, risky. The Canadians already have doubts about it, and there are several factors which could cause this strategy to fail. First, the Awakening Movement was more of a direct response to on-the-ground occurrences, and there was no initial firm American plan to support it. This Afghan Awakening is not being planned in the streets of Kandahar– but in NATO discussions. Also, similar ideas to arm militias have been tried in Pakistan, with no major success.
However, this strategy is most likely the best option. Three punches knocked out the insurgency in Iraq: the Surge, the Awakening, and the buildup of the Iraqi Security Forces. With ISAF receiving massive reinforcements next year, these NATO troops can keep a tight grip on the weapons and be available to assist anti-Taliban tribes. Also, a plan to build the Afghan Army is in effect. Of course, with NATO telecasting their moves, this could be another problem. But we must try and win, even if it is messy.