Counter-Terrorism: Tribal Politics Hurting The Taliban?

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September 2, 2006: "All politics is local." In Afghanistan, local politics is heavy on inter-tribal issues. Recently, for example, some tribes have been resisting Taliban influence not because they necessarily oppose the group's ultra-conservative version of Islam, but because the local Taliban leadership comes from rival tribes. The government has been exploiting this. Indeed, this is one area where the Karzai government has had lots of success, by negotiating deals with tribal chiefs. The problem is that these arrangements, while they often end up with tribes less hostile to the government, also leave the tribes as independent as ever from government control. This was a problem the Taliban had when they were running the country. The Taliban fell in late 2001 largely because the United States and its Afghan allies made it clear that smart bombs now prevented the Taliban from retaliating against defiant tribes. The Taliban has always ruled by fear, and has not changed its methods. The tribes remember the Taliban's brutal reprisals, which were at a peak in September, 2001.

 


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