The United States is planning on expanding an armed group in one of the most volatile regions of Afghanistan. Helmand province has seen a tremendous amount of attacks on ISAF forces and the US is attempting to find a way to pacify this Pashtun-majority Taliban stronghold.
One way to do this is to mimic the success of the Awakening forces in Iraq, which helped eject al Qaeda in 2007 and 2008. In this capacity, the tribes there will have their militias expanded, but regulated by the US and NATO.
Our correspondent says that local anti-Taliban defence forces have been hailed as an important part of the government’s security strategy in Afghanistan.
Paid per person by the US, these militia now operate in several of the country’s most violent provinces.
Mr Mangal said that while they had proved successful in Helmand, there was a possibility they could be infiltrated by the Taliban because the militia fighters may come from areas which sympathise with the militants.
Here’s hoping that it works. Any pressure it takes off of the Afghan Army and ISAF forces, the better.