September 21, 2012

Local Armies Increasingly Targeting Taliban Over 'Ultra-Restrictive Diktats' in Afghanistan

Afghanistan Sun (ANI) | Friday 21st September, 2012 | In an uprising compared with Iraq's Sunni Awakening, people of dozens of villages in Andar, a district of Afghanistan's volatile Ghazni, have taken up arms in the first of several anti-Taliban uprisings spreading across in Afghanistan due to its ultra-restrictive diktats.

Andar's band of fighters, who wear the traditional dress and carry Kalashnikov rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, are hard to distinguish from the Taliban.

According to the Wall Street Journal, they are now one of the biggest hopes for America to deal a decisive blow to the Taliban.

U.S. Marine General John Allen, the top coalition commander, has publicly compared the Andar revolt to the so-called Anbar Awakening, a rebellion of Iraq's Sunni tribes against al Qaeda-linked Sunni insurgents, that became a turning point in the Iraq war, the report said.

Outgunned by the Taliban, Andar's local fighters urgently need weapons and ammunition, the report added.

"We want support for the uprising. But we want the people to maintain ownership of this uprising," Faizanullah Faizan, the leader of the Andar rebels, said.

According to the report, for the villagers, the stakes are even higher. "If this uprising fails, the people's only hope dies," Sarwar Khan, a resident of Andar, said, adding: "If the Taliban return, we think they will even execute our women and children".

Mujahid, the Taliban spokesman, confirmed that the group had restricted villagers' movements in Andar, the report said.

He also dismissed the rebels, characterizing them as a U.S.-backed militia.

"They are directly under Americans' supervision," Mujahid said, adding: "We have been telling them since the beginning to put an end to the turbulence. The schools are reopened... The bazaar was banned because people would use it for spying."

Top U.S. military officials in Kabul said that they aren't providing any support to the Andar movement, but are watching whether they can help without damaging its organic development, the report said.

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