Posted: 17 Apr 2010Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 15 April 2010, commentary by Mohammad Amin Mudaqiq, head of the Kabul bureau of RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan: "The basic challenge is that the international community in Afghanistan is convinced that its approach is appropriate and correct. It seems reluctant to take into account the centuries-old tribal structure and traditions in Afghanistan, particularly in the region around Kandahar where the insurgency is strongest. Unless there is a genuine effort to understand the roots of the crisis and ultimately solve it in accordance with local tradition and practice, it will be almost impossible to convince the pro-Taliban fighters to lay down their weapons and pledge support for the government. Instead of resorting to such devastating military operations, the international community should encourage Kabul to convene an inclusive regional tribal jirga (council) in Kandahar that would bring together all tribal chiefs from the provinces of Kandahar, Helmand, Zabul, Oruzgan, Ghazni, and Farah. The international community should create a neutral mechanism for convening and hosting the Jirga to enable the tribal elders to express their wider concerns freely. Once those concerns are understood and addressed, then a military plan could be prepared to isolate and ultimately knock out the insurgents." ("The views expressed in this commentary are his own, and do not necessarily reflect those of RFE/RL.")
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