Saturday, November 28, 2009

“Most of the Taliban in my area are young men who need jobs”

Today the New York Times reports on another positive COIN policy development in Afghanistan. According to the New York Times, the United States is allowing Afghan tribal leaders to select development projects and then employing former-Taliban fighters to complete the projects.

This program of bringing insurgents into the fold by offering them employment tacks closely with US programs in Anbar--there, US construction contracts were awarded to the tribes that composed the Anbar Awakening Council. It also follows closely the tenets of COIN. Employing military-age men simultaneously drains the surplus of idle, aggressive young men and provides those young men with an alternative means to support their families beyond taking $20 to plant a roadside bomb.

The sorts of abuse reported in today's Washington Post, however, undercut US efforts in Afghanistan. Curtailing detainee abuse is--and ought to be--one of the highest US policy objectives.

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