US helping Afghanistan build anti-Taliban militias: report | world | Hindustan Times
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US helping Afghanistan build anti-Taliban militias: report

world Updated: Nov 22, 2009 13:01 IST
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In an bid to involve locals in the war against the Taliban, the United States is now helping a number of militias in several parts of Afghanistan, prompting hopes of a large-scale tribal rebellion, a report said on Sunday.

According to New York Times, American and Afghan officials are also planning to spur the growth of these 'Community Defence Initiative' across the Taliban heartland in the southern and eastern parts of the country bringing together thousands of gunmen to protect their neighborhoods.

"The idea is to get people to take responsibility for their own security," an unamed senior American military official in Kabul was quoted as saying by the paper.

Through the initiative the American and Afghan officials hope to supplement the forces and also help fill the gap while the Afghan army and police forces train and grow — a project that could take years to bear fruit.

"What we are talking about is a local, spontaneous and indigenous response to the Taliban," said Hanif Atmar Afghan interior minister said, adding "The Afghans are saying, we are willing and determined and capable to defend our country; just give us the resources."

However, the growth of the anti-Taliban militias runs the risk that they could turn on one another, or against the Afghan and American governments.

The Americans say they will keep the groups small and will limit the scope of their activities in protecting villages and manning checkpoints and tie them directly to the Afghan government.