- House and Senate negotiators reach two-year budget deal
- Congress seeks ban on in-flight calls
- Michelle Malkin’s Twitchy site sold to owners of Townhall, HotAir: report
- GM’s Barra to be first woman to run top American carmaker
- China: Poisonous smog is a military asset, if you think about it
- Texas woman admits to sending ricin to Obama
- Ron Paul on son Rand: ‘I think he probably will’ run for president
- Cold War heats up again in the Arctic: Russian airfield reactivated after 20 years
- 6-year-old boy suspended for sexual harassment over kiss
- Voters deciding Mass. congressional contest
Afghan warlords will fight if U.S. gives weapons
SHIBERGHAN, Afghanistan | Afghanistan’s long-established warlords and tribal leaders are offering to step up their fight against the Taliban and al Qaeda if the United States sends them more money and weapons, reprising the role they played before 2001.
The offer could be tempting to President Obama, who is being urged to build up U.S. troop strength in the country in spite of rising domestic opposition to the war, especially in the aftermath of a fraud-tainted Afghan presidential election.
Afghans who led ethnic militias against the Soviet occupation two decades ago say more U.S. troops would not be needed if the United States provided them with financial and material backing.
“If you support me, I will destroy the Taliban and al Qaeda,” Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum told The Washington Times in an interview at his northern stronghold. “I don’t want to be a minister, not even the defense minister. I need to be with my soldiers. Give me the task and I will do it.”
Other ethnic leaders have made similar offers, but their support is problematic.
Gen. Dostum is one of Afghanistan’s most notorious warlords — a Russian-educated former defense minister who turned against the Soviet Union in the 1980s but became a key figure in the Russian-backed fight against the Taliban a decade later.
The U.S. backed him after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, but human rights groups say he was responsible for numerous war crimes, including alleged links to the suffocation of about 2,000 Taliban prisoners of war in truck containers.
Banished by President Hamid Karzai to Turkey after he got into a political squabble with a rival, Gen. Dostum was invited back before the Aug. 20 presidential election to deliver hundreds of thousands of ethnic Uzbek votes to Mr. Karzai.
More than two dozen other warlords still hold significant power in Afghanistan. They include provincial governors Atta Mohammed Noor, Gul Agha Sherzai and Ismail Khan.
Several of these former mujahedeen, as the anti-Soviet freedom fighters were known, said they also want a shift in U.S. strategy.
“Afghanistan and its people are the only ones who can truly defeat the Taliban and al Qaeda,” said a former commander in the Northern Alliance who fought alongside Ahmad Shah Massoud against the Taliban. Mr. Massoud was killed by al Qaeda suicide bombers posing as reporters two days before the Sept. 11 attacks.
“We need weapons and resources,” said the former commander, who asked to be identified only by his first name, Mohammad. “More U.S. troops are not necessary, but we would fight alongside them if asked.
“We are not children that need to be watched over — we defeated the Soviets,” he added. “We can defeat the Taliban, but we need assistance from the U.S. Not more troops but we need the NATO commanders to listen to us, support us. So far, they are not listening and the Afghan people fear they will be abandoned. This is no way to defeat an enemy.”
On Capitol Hill, there is growing concern about sending more Americans to augment the 68,000 U.S. troops who will be in Afghanistan by the end of this year, particularly within the president’s own party.
Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, commander of U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan, warned in a confidential assessment that a new strategy and additional troops would be needed to salvage the 8-year-old war. The assessment, first reported by The Washington Post and verified by a senior U.S. defense official Monday, does not request a specific number of troops, but says the Afghan army and police need to grow to about 400,000.
By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Harry Reid's visa pressure cooker
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- Somber duty: U.S. presidents in hot demand at Mandela's memorial
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- Galaxy S4 owner claims Samsung tried to silence him after phone caught fire
- Obama shakes hands with Cuba's Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela's funeral
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
A column dedicated to discussing politics, national security, civil liberties, and education.
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
The “Silver Tsunami” created by aging Baby Boomers is hitting America. Let’s explore how we adjust to it, enjoy it and defy negative expectations about age.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow