A surprising development in Pakistan has emerged with growing anger among Pakistani villagers toward the Taliban and foreign volunteers who have entered their nation to spread a sharia version of Islamic life. There are reports of Pakistani villagers who are hunting down members of the Taliban, killing them, and forcing them to flee to other areas. Several civilian militias, known as lashkars, have arisen due to anger over the bombing of a mosque which resulted in the death of 33 people. Ejaz Ahmed, police chief of the Upper Dir region claims due to actions by lashkars, ‘militants have been attempting to escape the area under cover of dark.”
Eight long years ago American forces swept through Afghanistan and left in their wake disorganization and confusion. Instead of focusing energy and money on developing local economies and fostering development of village militias, the Americans spent their time burning poppy crops and bombing civilian homes, and installing the corrupt Karzai government in Kabul. It is time to focus on the local level because guerrilla activities are best confronted when local villagers have the economic power and military equipment to deal with those who harm their lives. End the destruction of poppy, purchase all poppy from the farmers, arm villagers, and allow the people of Afghanistan to destroy the Taliban.
The same is true about Pakistan. Now is the time to foster village development in Pakistan, arm local leaders and shift responsibility from the Pakistan army to local military action.