Afghan Intel Chief Says Only 5% of Territory Is Lawless

Rejects US' more pessimistic 70% figure
By Lucas Laursen,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2008 11:22 AM CST
Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2008, before the Senate Armed Services hearing on worldwide threats. Afghanistan's intel...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Afghanistan controls all but 5% of its territory, insisted its intelligence chief today—contradicting a far more pessimistic US assessment that last week said the Afghan government controls just 30% of its territory, the Taliban holds 10%, and tribal leaders are in charge of the rest. Western governments have chimed in against the US assessment.

"While in America, an administration fully backed by tribal chiefs or dominated by tribal chiefs may be seen as liability, here we see it as a very strong asset," said Afghanistan's intelligence chief. Tribes have historically dominated local government in Afghanistan. American efforts to shore up the central government have coupled more traditional financial aid with outreach to tribal leaders.