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06/05/09

Anand Gopal: US focused on military approach but Iraq tactics can't work in Afghanistan

Source: The Real News Network

Anand Gopal, Christian Science Monitor journalist, talks with TRNN Senior Editor Paul Jay about Afghanistan. Gopal became interested in America's foreign policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan after several of his close friends were killed in the Sept. 9/11 attacks.

The US has discussed implementing structures like the Iraqi awakening councils within Afghanistan. Gopal says that this strategy is problematic in Afghanistan, the fundamental difference being that "[in] Iraq, the US was able to bring aboard Sunni tribesmen to fight against an outside, or a perceived outsider which is Al-Qaeda. In Afghanistan, that dynamic doesn't exist because the Taliban are part of the community. They are the sons, brothers, and cousins of the villagers, so it's not easy to separate the tribe from the villagers and the Taliban," Gopal says.
 

 
More at The Real News

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Gopal says that despite a few small pro-government groups in northern Afghanistan that have signed up for the program, "the Pashtuns by and large have not joined the programs."

"So what we have is the Americans arming one ethnic group against another ethnic group. In a country that has had a history of civil wars and international warfare, this is a very dangerous recipe," Gopal says.

Bio:  Anand Gopal is a journalist for Inter Press Services (IPS). He covers the "Global War on Terror" across its many fronts, from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia to the domestic arena. He is a correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor and writes for many other outlets as well.

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