US Aims to Enlist Tribes in Pakistan

Proposal would train, pay tribes to fight Taliban and al Qaeda
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 19, 2007 8:20 AM CST
Armed Pakistani militants loyal to pro-Taliban cleric Mullah.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The US military would like to enlist Pakistani tribesmen in the fight against the Taliban and al Qaeda, importing the strategy that's been used successfully in Anbar province in Iraq. The classified proposal would see more American military trainers heading for Pakistan—where we have only 50 troops now—and financing for a tribal paramilitary force to bolster resistance to Islamic militants, reports the New York Times.

The Bush Administration has spent years encouraging Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to send his own military after insurgents, but the campaigns have been sporadic and largely fruitless, and recent political upheaval may undermine the effort even further. Critics say the new strategy may be too late to work: "The advantage is already in the enemy hands," said one military officer.