Afghanistan: Tribal Power Struggle At The Center of it All

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February26, 2007: Afghanistan is trying to get Pakistan to agree to arm and support tribal chiefs, to go after the Taliban, al Qaeda and other Islamic radical groups. The traditional tribal chiefs have lost power over the last two decades, in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, as younger, less well-connected, men have used force to establish themselves as warlords. Many of these lads are Taliban warlords. Pakistan is reluctant to give the tribal chiefs guns and legal authority to enforce the law, because getting that kind of power back is very difficult. But for the tribesmen, the traditional leaders (the older guys with more wisdom and experience) are preferable to the warlords (the younger guys with more guns and greed). NATO is siding with the tribal leaders, and the Taliban threaten to punish any of the older guys who try and rally the people against the Taliban. That might just mean a beating, and having your truck stolen, or it might mean murder (which can trigger a blood feud).

Another suicide bomb attack failed, when a bomber was stopped as he tried to get into a police station in southern Afghanistan. The bomber and one policeman died.

February 25, 2007: The Taliban have unofficially kicked off the 2007 campaigning season by having their chief publicist, Mullah Dadullah, put himself at great personal risk by using a satellite phone to make an announcement to the media. Dadullah says the Taliban has 6,000 fighters ready to go, and several hundred "trained suicide bombers." Dadullah said this year would be worse that last year. Last year, the Taliban sent in 10,000 fighters, and 3,000 of them got killed.

February 24, 2007: Two more Taliban rockets hit Kandahar airport, causing no dangerous. The airport is a large target, and the rockets are not very accurate.

February 23, 2007: Britain is sending an additional infantry battalion (about a thousand troops) to Afghanistan in May. This unit will act as a mobile strike force, ready to move anywhere, usually by helicopter, to take down large Taliban forces that have been pinpointed, and perhaps partially cornered by other NATO or Afghan forces.

 

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