Pakistan to Arm Local Militias

Insurgency strategy, successful for US in Iraq, boosts American confidence in ally
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Oct 23, 2008 10:32 AM CDT
Pakistan's tribesmen look at belongings in a house they said was hit by suspected US missile strikes. Pakistan hopes to enlist tribal fighters against the Taliban.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Pakistan plans to give weapons to thousands of  tribal fighters along its border with Afghanistan, the Washington Post reports—a strategy that has helped the US in Iraq. The move to link the militias—called lashkars—to anti-Taliban efforts is a boost to US confidence in Pakistan’s military efforts, and commanders say they’re seeing results across the border in Afghanistan.

While the US is offering training support, and has sent $10 billion over the past seven years for counterterrorism, a Pakistani official says the new effort is independent: “The Americans are not giving us a bloody cent. This is us, doing it ourselves.” US officials caution, meanwhile, that Pakistan has much work to on broader security and economic issues in the border region.