The New York Times reports:
American and Afghan officials have begun helping a number of anti-Taliban militias that have independently taken up arms against insurgents in several parts of Afghanistan, prompting hopes of a large-scale tribal rebellion against the Taliban.
The emergence of the militias, which took some leaders in Kabul by surprise, has so encouraged the American and Afghan officials that they are planning to spur the growth of similar armed groups across the Taliban heartland in the southern and eastern parts of the country.Why now? Apparently, some Afghans have had enough:
In July, a long-running dispute between local Taliban fighters and elders from the Shinwari tribe flared up. When a local Taliban warlord named Khona brought a more senior commander from Pakistan to help in the confrontation, the elders in the Shinwari tribe rallied villagers from up and down the valley where they live, killed the commander and chased Khona away.How is the tribe doing? They appear to be kicking the "stray dogs" you-know-whats.
The elders had insisted that the Taliban stay away from a group of Afghans building a dike in the valley. When Khona’s men kidnapped two Afghan engineers, the Shinwari elders decided they had had enough.
“The whole tribe was with me,” one of the elders said in an interview. “The Taliban came to kill me, and instead we killed them.”
Since the fight, the Taliban have been kept away from a string of villages in Achin District that stretch for about six miles. The elders said they were able to do so by forming a group of more than 100 fighters and posting them at each end of the valley.Now imagine giving every man, woman, and child in Afghanistan - every school girl and her grandma - a cell phone so that every villager in trouble could call one of these local militias. How much longer do you think their fathers, sons, and brothers would allow the Taliban survive a menacing visit to their homes or schools?
Forget road and school building. Bring these people phone service and let them establish their own security and educational opportunities.