Afghan Tribe to Fight Taliban in Deal for US Aid
US hopes for similar deals throughout Afghanistan
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2010 7:31 AM CST
Shinwari tribal leaders offer prayers at the end of a gathering at the Afghan Border Police compound in Jalalabad, Nangarhar province east of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2010.   (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
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(Newser) – In a groundbreaking pact, an entire Afghan tribe has pledged to join with the US-backed government to fight the Taliban. The 400,000-strong Shinwari tribe, which controls key areas on the Pakistan border, will battle insurgents, burn down homes harboring Taliban fighters, and contribute one military-aged male from each family in the event of a Taliban attack. The US, in exchange, will bypass the corrupt local government and channel $1 million in development funds directly to the Shinwaris, Dexter Filkins writes in the New York Times.

The US hopes to replicate the agreement—modeled after similar deals in Iraq, and the first time an entire Pashtun tribe has agreed to fight the Taliban—with other Afghan tribes as part of its new carrot-and-stick approach to the Taliban. The plan faces challenges, though: Tribal loyalties are fickle and 30 years of war have left many Afghan tribes both militarily weak and vulnerable to Taliban infiltration.