Talking Local Defense Forces

by Joshua Foust on 7/16/2010 · 3 comments

I was on the Alyona Show last night, talking with Ms. Minkovsky about what’s going on with the latest not-militias. I guess I’ve been buried in studying them for long enough to where I hadn’t realized just how little we know about this one. I tried to avoid saying things I know were probably true but had no evidence for, in particular how similar this latest effort sounds like the ANAP, or ANHP, or the AP3. But aside from speculating that I think this will be more like the failed Shinwari deal than the LDIs, I really wasn’t able to say much. Go figure.


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– author of 1848 posts on Registan.net.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from Registan.net. His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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{ 3 comments }

Alex Strick van Linschoten July 16, 2010 at 9:32 am

Come on, Josh…give yourself a bit of credit. Western militaries have a proven track record of renaming this stuff every so often simply to keep people confused. Every time it pops up under a different name. I’m profoundly disheartened by this latest approval by Karzai. A couple of days before he had a meeting with a gathering of Kandahari tribal elders and provincial council reps and he told them “absolutely never” would he acquiesce to American demands to implement/expand these militia programmes. Like you say: just read the history.

Jesse Wilson July 17, 2010 at 12:57 pm

“Militia” is different than a local defense force… a militia is controlled by a warlord or powerbroker, where an LDI, VSP, arbakai, etc., are controlled by a council or group.

The VSP initiative is different than a tribal militia. It’s community-based, and links development, governance, and other security and stability concepts with the local defense.

anan July 23, 2010 at 3:16 am

What did you think of this article?:
http://afpak.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/07/21/going_old_school_us_army_special_forces_return_to_the_villages

Looks like the plan is for an ISAF Special Forces A-team to partner with an ANA Commando Special Forces A-team and a representative of MoI and form Local Defense Initiative groups.

Looks like an MoI administered program run by ANA Commando Special Forces and ISAF special forces. ISAF will remain in the picture because only ISAF has the money to fund local reconstruction projects that go along with Local Defense Initiatives.

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