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Latest Allied Afghan War Plan: Lure Turncoat Taliban

Tuesday, 24 Nov 2009 09:07 PM


If you can't beat them, get them to join you. That's the idea behind a new effort by the Afghan government and the U.S. military to win over low-level insurgents and split them from their Taliban leaders.

Eight years have elapsed since the U.S. and other forces invaded Afghanistan and overthrew the Taliban government. This year, those forces suffered more losses than at any time since the conflict began.

Military measures have failed to stem a rising insurgency. So the Afghan government and its Western allies are exploring other ideas — including a grass-roots effort similar to the "Sons Of Iraq" program that wooed Sunni Muslims away from the Iraqi insurgency.

British Lt. Gen. Graeme Lamb played a leading role in devising the program in Iraq. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the American commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, recently persuaded Lamb to abandon his retirement plans and attempt the same feat in Afghanistan.

I think there are many who will fight well for a bad cause. Or for a misunderstanding, a misapprehension. Some for a dollar. Some because it's cool. Some because it's an opportunity to feed a family. Some because they enjoy it.

- British Lt. Gen. Graeme Lamb on the reasons Afghans become insurgents

But Lamb says the two war zones are different.

"In Iraq, I had fighters on both sides. I had Shiite militia on one side, and I had Sunni insurgents on the other. Here, one seems to have this rather crude analysis where people talk about the Taliban as a single entity, which of course is a complete misunderstanding of those forces that are placed against us," Lamb says.

To read full NPR story — Go Here Now.

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