Dexter Filkins reports from Afghanistan that “American and Afghan officials have begun helping a number of anti-Taliban militias that have independently taken up arms against insurgents in several parts of Afghanistan, prompting hopes of a large-scale tribal rebellion against the Taliban.” Filkins notes that “the plan echoes a similar movement that unfolded in Iraq, beginning in late 2006, in which Sunni tribes turned against Islamist extremists.”
The Taliban proved itself to be a vicious, blood-thirsty lot when it held power prior to 9/11. There is no evidence that it has changed and there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that it has not. Thus, it’s quite plausible to believe that the Taliban is vulnerable to a large-scale tribal rebellion like the Sunni uprising in Iraq.
What’s the biggest difference between Afghanistan now and Iraq in early 2007? I think it’s the fact that in 2007 the U.S. had a president who was committed to victory in Iraq, whereas today the U.S. has a president who is committed to finding an exit from Afghanistan. An uprising is significantly less probable when those who might undertake one think they cannot count on help from the U.S.
Via Abe Greenwald.
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