Obama Supporting Anti-Taliban Militias
The Community Defence Initiative (CDI) is enthusiastically backed by Stanley McChrystal, the US general commanding Nato forces in Afghanistan. Special forces will be able to access money from a US military fund to pay for the projects. US special forces are supporting anti-Taliban militias as part of a secretive programme that experts warn could fuel long-term instability in the country. The hope is that the militias supplement the Nato and Afghan forces fighting the Taliban. But the prospect of re-empowering militias after billions of international dollars were spent after the US-led invasion in 2001 to disarm illegally armed groups alarms many experts.
Obama hope the militias will encourage an increasingly demoralized Afghan population to take a stake in the war against the Taliban. By aiding the militias, Obama and Afghan officials hope to rapidly increase the number of Afghans fighting the Taliban. That could supplement the American and Afghan forces already here, and whatever number of American troops Obama might decide to send. The growth of the anti-Taliban militias runs the risk that they could turn on one another, or against the Afghan and American governments. Militias have begun taking up arms against the Taliban in several places where insurgents have gained a foothold, including the provinces of Nangarhar and Paktia.
The US government will make a pot of $1.3bn (£790m) available for the programme. The $1.3 billion in development funds for militias and warlords adds to US spending in Afghanistan, which totals $3.6 billion per month. Good decision or Bad decision?
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