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Fri September 21, 2012
As Last Surge Troops Leave, Some Afghans Take Up Arms Against Taliban
As Defense Secretary Leon Panetta notes that the last of the 33,000 so-called surge troops who were added to the U.S. force in Afghanistan last year have now left the country, there's this interesting news:
In Andar, Afgahnistan, local Pashtuns have taken up arms against the Taliban, The Wall Street Journal reports. And the Journal writes that:
"U.S. Marine Gen. John Allen, the top coalition commander, has publicly compared the Andar revolt — which to a great degree pits local Pashtuns against the largely Pashtun Taliban — to the so-called Anbar Awakening, a rebellion of Iraq's Sunni tribes against al-Qaida-linked Sunni insurgents that became a turning point in the Iraq war. ...
" Village men — mostly former local Taliban, or members of the Hezb-i-Islami group of warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar — say they rose up against harsh new edicts by Taliban commanders who moved here this year from Pakistani madrassas, banning government education and imposing a more austere brand of Islam that defied local customs."
Back in February 2011, Andar was the subject of a New York Times piece on the "underground government, organized under the Taliban's banner," that had been created there. The Journal's report makes clear that the locals aren't pro-American and aren't necessarily supporters of President Hamid Karzai's government. They are, though, said to be tired of the Taliban.
Andar is in southeast Afghanistan's Ghazni province.