Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Gen Stanley McCrystal, the former top commander in Afghanistan, enjoying freshly-plucked apricots while on a tour of Jalrez valley in Wardak province in August 2009. Photo by Anuj Chopra

U.S. Hopes To Prompt Afghan Awakening

By Anuj Chopra

SANGLAKH, AFGHANISTAN -- Gen Stanley McCrystal, the top Nato commander in Afghanistan, began deliberations last weekend on a critical question: can a new initiative in Afghanistan restore security in the country’s restive provinces? “I want to understand it,” he told local Afghan officials sitting on a grassy knoll and gorging freshly plucked apricots. “The more you teach me, the better I will perform at meetings with ministers in Kabul.” The initiative, begun in March, is the Afghan Police Protection Programme, or AP3, an anti-Taliban militia known colloquially as the Guardians. “Before the Guardians came, this district was 80 per cent insecure. The Taliban were everywhere,” said Sayad Jawad Bahunar, the sub-governor of the district. “But now people feel much safer.”...



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