US to rely on former warlords to stabilise Afghanistan

March 20th, 2009 - 6:25 pm ICT by ANI  

Barack Obama

Washington, Mar 20 (ANI): Afghan Governor Gul Agha Shirzai, who is a semi-literate former warlord and a handful of other former warlords are again being seen as useful partners as US President Barack Obama undertakes a massive overhaul of the war in Afghanistan.

Many in Afghanistan think Shirzai might also be the countrys best hope for stability. As the head of one of the countrys most peaceful provinces, he has ensured that roads get built, opium poppies are ploughed under, and the Taliban are held at bay.

That record in Nangarhar province in the countrys east has made Shirzai a serious presidential contender. It has also brought him praise from the US, along with a visit last summer from then-Senator Barack Obama.

In addition to sending in 17,000 more troops, the Obama Administration is also finalizing a review of US policy expected to be released early next week.

The new plan will likely call for deploying hundreds of diplomats and other civilian officials, devoting more resources to local and provincial governments, and mounting a counter narcotics push in southern Afghanistan, FOX News quoted senior US officials, as saying.

Former warlords with track records of providing for people in their provinces could be critical in the drive to undercut support for the Taliban, say US and Afghan officials.

Opponents say these strongmen also have track records of violence, corruption and a disdain for the rule of law — and thus raise questions about democracys place in Afghanistan.

With Karzais Government virtually penned in Kabul, and the Taliban resurgent, there is growing debate among diplomats, Afghan officials and analysts over whether a central government can effectively secure the country.

Some say a return to a looser federation of regions might ultimately be more viable, even if former warlords lead some of those regions. (ANI)

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