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.