Apparently, some villagers in East Afghanistan were mad as hell and decided they weren't going to take it anymore, so they formed a militia. What I find most interesting is that even though they are not well armed, they've mounted an offensive against the Taliban and somehow have been able to drive the militants out of their province like a pack of rats. NATO forces certainly haven't had much luck doing that.
Remarkably, the poorly-armed tribesmen, calling themselves the National Uprising Movement (NUM), have inflicted heavy casualties on the Taliban and succeeded in driving them out from scores of villages and several districts of Ghazni Province, a long-established militant stronghold.
The uprising, which has fed on the popular discontent with the Taliban’s brutal rule, has put the militants in an uncomfortable situation.
Initially, the Taliban responded with heavy-handed tactics, torching villagers' homes and kidnapping tribal elders. But with the villagers standing firm, the militants have since backed down and offered to negotiate, a proposal to which locals have responded with a resounding "no."
According to Ahmad Wali, a resident of Ghazni's restive Andar district where the uprising first began, the revolt started in May when the provincial government introduced a ban on motorcycles, the main form of transportation for the Taliban.
Wali recalls how the Taliban began harassing locals as they sought to pressure the government into reversing its ban. "It was very difficult for people to get around," he says. "The schools and hospitals were all closed down. Nobody could go anywhere [without being harassed by the Taliban]."
Locals in Andar say they tried and failed to reason with the Taliban. They even offered to side with the militants against the government if they reopened the schools and markets and allowed the roads and wells to be improved. When the Taliban refused, locals went back to their villages and organized themselves into a militia, which became the basis for the National Uprising Movement.
With only a few hundred ragtag tribesman, they've managed to do what NATO has been unable to do. How amazing is that? They've killed and captured members of the Taliban, and managed to bring life back to pretty much normal.
Baryolai Andar said:
"All the people are overjoyed with the movement. God willing, they will take their fight [and free] other areas. They have restored security and have helped us greatly. All the schools that were closed by the Taliban have now been reopened."
Although it would make far better sense to support groups that are actually ridding the region of Taliban rather than spending time and money training Afghan soldiers who could, at any moment, turn on our soldiers, the NUM doesn't want to be affiliated with any government or foreign entity.
Abdul Karim Khan, a member of the movement, maintains that the group is acting independently from the NATO-led coalition and the Afghan government, which he insists has little support in the area and is seen as corrupt and a puppet of the West. "The Taliban is bringing harm and cruelty to our people," he says. "They are attacking and killing the village elders and leaders [of the movement]. We have our own resources and we will lead this fight ourselves."
The Afghan government has said it supports the local uprisings, but has fallen short of confirming they are providing financial or logistical support.
Daud Sultanzoi, a former member of parliament from Ghazni, believes the movement is wary of accepting support from the government for fear that it could damage its legitimacy and its standing as a grass-roots movement.
"Anti-Taliban movements cannot have a sponsor and be identified with this government," he says. "As soon as this government touches anything it turns into evil. The government doesn't have the credibility to be the backbone for such uprisings. These uprisings need energy, which has to come from the people. But people cannot become energized because they say if we fight against the Taliban the alternative is this government."Apparently, there are similar rebellions against the Taliban in other regions and districts, and they seem to be doing very well.
I wish them well, because we need to remove our troops from Afghanistan post-haste!