Afghanistan's Karzai wants to use militias to help bolster his shaky hold on his nation.
Unable to offer protection to vulnerable villagers against intimidation by Taliban fighters, the Afghan government says it is considering forming tribal militias to guard the places security forces can't reach.Although Karzai (and a NATO spokeman) was quick to follow the American example from earlier days of the Iraqi occupation and state that since he plans to pretend these militias are part of the military then they can't be called militias and so he isn't really using militias as security troops, so there!
"The government is not arming these people. They have had arms for generations, and the government is going to register their guns and provide them some earnings in this regard," Abdul Manan Farahi, the Interior Ministry's counter-terrorism chief, told Reuters.
The insurgency is in its bloodiest phase since the overthrow of the Taliban government in late 2001, and with thousands more NATO peacekeeping troops being deployed by the end of July, this summer is regarded as a critical period. But any decision to put irregular Afghan forces into the fray would run counter to a disarmament programme that is supposed to finish next year.
We all know how the story ends from what has happened in Iraq:
Iraq's intelligence chief warned in remarks published on Sunday against merging militias with government security forces, saying it would give them an official cover to carry out their activities.I hope we all remember back to the heady days of 2004 when we were being assured by Coalition Provisional Authority mouthpiece Dan Senor that he didn't see the armed militias as ever being a problem again.
Major General Mohammed al-Shahwani contradicted the position of new Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who has vowed to merge powerful militias, which have close ties to ruling political parties, with security forces to get weapons off the streets.
"I have reservations about merging militias into security forces because this is not the solution. The solution is to rehabilitate militia members for civil service jobs," he said in an interview with Azzaman newspaper.
"Merging the militias means giving their activities an official cover at a time that the government and parliament and political powers are working on making government forces the only groups taking over security activities."
I will leave it to the reader to connect the dots between this preference for militias and warlords in the Bush foreign policy and his attempts to gather to himself the powers of a King and control of the National Guard here at home.