Karzai Concedes, Backs US Plan for Local Forces

Villagers will be trained to fight the Taliban
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2010 3:02 PM CDT
Afghan policemen secure a police base which came under attack last night in Kandahar, south of Kabul, Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/Allauddin Khan)

(Newser) – With US deaths rising by the day, Hamid Karzai gave up his long-held objections today to a central part of Gen. David Petraeus' strategy. The Afghan president agreed to allow the training of local defense forces—"community watch on steroids," says one US official—so villagers can defend themselves against the Taliban, reports the Washington Post.

The US has been testing the approach on a small scale and thinks it will create a grassroots movement against the insurgents, notes the Wall Street Journal. But Karzai is worried the units will get out of control and create warlords. "We'll be following a well-known concept," insists one senior Afghan government official. "This is not a militia—no way."

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