Attrition: Jobs and Guns


August 31, 2006: In Afghanistan, unemployed gunmen have made it easier for the Taliban to hire fighters for their current 'Summer Offensive". Since the collapse of the Taliban regime five years ago, about 65,000 former Taliban fighters have turned in their arms and accepted amnesty from the new government. But unemployment is high in Afghanistan, averaging 35-45 percent, and is much higher among the former-Taliban fighters, running perhaps 75 percent. This is because about half the amnestied Taliban are Pusthun, and they live along the Pakistani border, where there are little or no job opportunities. Reportedly the Taliban has been focusing on re-recruiting these men, which may explain why they've been able to sustain the heavy losses that they have incurred since the onset of their 2006 offensive, last Spring..


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