Afghanistan: December 24, 2001


Abdul Rashid Dostum, one of the most powerful Afghan warlords, has offered to allow his troops to be incorporated in the new national army. This would prevent possible civil war by eliminating an independent army in the country. 

Most Afghans are tired of over two decades of fighting and eager to try peace. But the ethnic and clan rivalries remain and it will take some shrewd trading to fairly distribute the foreign aid coming into the country. The new president, Hamid Karzai, appears equipped to do this, but success is not assured. 

U.S. B-52s continue to circle over Tora Bora as the search continues for al Qaeda documents in the caves there. 

British Royal Marine Commandos continue to arrive at Kabul airport. 

One aspect of the war that has not yet been given much coverage was the use of cash by the CIA and special forces. Money was paid to get some warlords to switch sides, and payments are still made to keep some people in line. A growing number of Afghans, armed and unarmed, are finding their way on to unofficial American payrolls. Money played a major part in the war, not just because Americans had a lot of it, but because cash has always been used as a weapon in Afghanistan. U.S. special forces study foreign cultures and note who can be paid for what and under what conditions. This weapon was put to work even before September 11 by the CIA, and became a major element once special forces, and more CIA people entered the country. 


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