Afghanistan: August 5, 2002


 The most lawless part of Afghanistan is the southeast Pushtun areas, where drug gangs and pro-Taliban tribes battle each other form control of smuggling, or simply to show who is top dog. A side effect of all this lawlessness is a hostile atmosphere for aid agencies, which have tended to stay away as a result. US Special Forces are also having a hard time dealing with the locals, although US and allied commandos find that the language of violence is understood. And violence may be required if the government is impose it's will in the area and disarm the local militias. Many of the local warlords made their reputations in the 1980s, fighting the Russians. Many of these guys are good fighters, but know nothing about peacetime administration. Convincing them to retire has been difficult and it is felt that some will only quit when they are dead. 


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