US to Pay Taliban to Change Loyalty

In a new move to tackle Taliban, US President Barack Obama has signed a $680 billion defence appropriations bill with one provision that gives commanders the power to pay Taliban militants to switch sides, however some experts have warned that it will buy only temporary loyalty.

According to the bill signed by Obama on Wednesday, the payments to Taliban would be made under a Taliban reintegration provision under the Commander’s Emergency Response Programme (CERP), which is presently receiving $1.3 billion in the bill pay for military operations in the 2010 fiscal year.

It should be noted that CERP funds are also aimed humanitarian relief and reconstruction projects at commanders’ discretion.

Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said that the buyout idea is for separating local Taliban from their leaders, which is akin to a programme used to neutralise the insurgency against Americans in Iraq.

“Afghan leaders and our military say that local Taliban fighters are motivated largely by the need for a job or loyalty to the local leader who pays them and not by ideology or religious zeal,” Levin said in a Senate floor speech Sep 11.

“They believe an effort to attract these fighters to the government’s side could succeed, if they are offered security for themselves and their families, and if there is no penalty for previous activity against us.”

The plan for Taliban has been backed by the top commander in Afghanistan. “Most of the fighters we see in Afghanistan are Afghans, some with (a) foreign cadre with them,” said General Stanley McChrystal in a July 28 Los Angeles Times interview.

Most are not ideologically or even politically motivated, he said in the interview.

“Most are operating for pay; some are under a commanders charismatic leadership; some are frustrated with local leaders.”

However, experts have something else to say. Nicholas Schmidle, an expert on the Afghanistan-Pakistan region for the non-partisan New America Foundation, was quoted as saying by CNN that while the plan has a “reasonable chance for some success”, the old Afghan saying – “You can rent an Afghan, but you can’t buy him” – will finally be borne out.

“So long as the Americans are keenly aware of this, you’re buying a very, very, very temporary allegiance,” he said. “If that’s the foundation for moving forward, it’s a shaky foundation.”

Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker