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Mar 12

Written by: Diana West
Friday, March 12, 2010 5:42 PM 

Shinwari tribal elders arriving to pick up their US booty, I mean, convene a shura: Quick, Mohmand subtribe or Alisher subtribe? Or Khogyani, perchance? And does it make any difference to US national security??


Been a while since I posted about Afghanistan, having been focused on potentially hopeful developments in Europe -- specifically the potentional for reverse Islamization as manifested by Geert Wilders' recent political successes in the Netherlands. Remember, the fate of Europe (repeat after me) matters more to the US than the fate of Afghanistan. That's because an Islamic Europe of the possibly near future is of far deeper, graver concern to the future of Western-style liberty than whether an Islamic narco-kleptocracy in South Asia functions at some minimal level according to Western lights. The only thing important in Afghanistan are the lives and limbs of somewhere on its way up to 100,000 American and allied troops there. As Gen. Paul Vallely points out: "Jihadists with small arms and IEDS in faraway places cannot harm the United States so there is no reason to order massive armies that require large and extensive bases and massive logistical support to fight them on their home turf. But that is the essence of failed “counterinsurgency” (COIN) strategies that have bewitched US military political leaders." Pull the troops out to fight jihad better and smarter, and presto, roughly, we can try to  forget about Afghanistan.

Or do we really just want a lot more of this? From the New York Times:

JALALABAD, Afghanistan — Six weeks ago, elders of the Shinwari tribe, which dominates a large area in southeastern Afghanistan, pledged that they would set aside internal differences to focus on fighting the Taliban.

I remember that. It was hailed as a big deal, "the first time an entire Pashtun tribe" of 400,000 members had declared war on the Taliban -- and they were gonna get $1 million bucks "in development" for their trouble directly from US commanders.

It never sounded like a good bet, despite the rousing proclamation "that the Shinwari tribe stands unified against all insurgent groups, specifically the Taliban,” as the tribe agreeed. From that January story:

But the Shinwari elders did not merely declare their opposition to the Taliban. Although they declared their allegiance to the Afghan government, they directed at it a nearly equal measure of fury, condemning “all the corruption and illegal activities that threaten the Afghan people.”

“We are doing this for ourselves, and ourselves only,” said Hajji Kafta, one of the elders. “We have absolutely no faith in the Afghan government to do anything for us. We don’t trust them at all.”

Sensing opportunity — and wanting the agreement to stick — the American officers decided to bypass the government entirely and pledge $1 million in development aid directly to the Shinwari elders. ...

Which sounded like a good deal -- for the Shiwari elders. That was then. Here's the rest of today's article:

This week, that commitment seemed less important as two Shinwari subtribes took up arms to fight each other over an ancient land dispute, leaving at least 13 people dead, according to local officials.

In other words, now US foreign policy is enmeshed in Pashtun, Shinwari subtribal enmity. And how does that keep America safe again? How does that stop the spread of sharia by violent (terrorism) and non-violent (immigration) means?

The fighting was a setback for American military officials, some of whom had hoped it would be possible to replicate the pledge elsewhere. ...

Like the sainted Sunni "Awakening" in Iraq. Show them the money, replicate the pledge -- and then what? Your money's gone and so is the "pledge."

Questions for Shinwari tribal elders this week about whether the pact against the Taliban still stood went unanswered as the elders turned the conversation to their intratribal struggle.

In other words, don't bother us with unimportant things; we have a pointless, interneccine struggle to get on with.

“We promised to work with the government to fight the Taliban,” said Hajji Gul Nazar, an elder from the Mohmand branch of the Shinwari tribe. He added, “Well, the government officials should have taken care of this argument among us before the shooting started.”

“We are the same tribe, and we are not happy killing each other,” he said. “The provincial police chief and the governor should have taken care of this issue.”

Finally, the perfect candidate for Obamacare.

The dispute began about 10 days ago when the Alisher subtribe of the Shinwari laid a claim to land also claimed by another branch of the tribe called the Mohmand. The disputed area covers about 22,000 acres near the Pakistani border and about 20 miles from Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar Province.

Staking their claim, the Mohmand set up tents on the land, according to tribal elders. The government called on both sides to hold a peaceful discussion among tribal elders, known as a shura.

The Alisher repeatedly asked the Mohmand to remove their tents from the disputed land. After more than a week of discussion and no sign that the Mohmand were budging, the Alisher called the police.

The police arrived and began to remove the tents, infuriating the Mohmand, who became even more infuriated when the Alisher began to help the police knock down the tents. When some members of the Alisher began to burn the tents, the Mohmand attacked the Alisher, firing rocket-propelled grenades, mortar launchers, machine guns and AK-47 semiautomatic rifles, according to local commanders and Afghan border police officers, who did not wish to be quoted by name.

Several Alisher elders alleged that the police had helped the Mohmand.

Alisher, Mohmand, Alisher, Mohmand...let's call the whole thing off.

“We heard that Gov. Gul Agha Shirzai and the local police chief gave arms to the Mohmand,” said Babarzai, a well-known Alisher poet in the area, who, like many Afghans, uses only one name. “We spent all of yesterday burying our dead. Now there are many widows in our tribe.”

The government of Nangarhar Province denied the accusation. “Gov. Gul Agha Shirzai would never do anything like that,” said his spokesman, Ahmadzia Abdulzai. “Our goal is always to bring the tribes together.”

A deputy interior minister arrived from Kabul on Thursday with several other dignitaries from the capital to attend funerals for those who were killed and to encourage peace.

Elders from the Khogyani, another local tribe, met with 100 elders from each of the feuding subtribes to participate in a a peace shura to defuse tensions.

“I don’t think the shura will work,” said Hajji Gul Nazar, a Mohmand elder who was not able to attend the shura. “The Alisher have lost people and have so many wounded, and lots of their tents were burned by our people, and motorcycles were burned, and cars. They must be waiting to take revenge on us.”...

Notice no one has mentioned what happens to the million bux.

And notice no one has a clue about the Big Picture.

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