US Delays Plan for More Anti-Taliban Militias
US officials have decided to hold off on a plan to establish more anti-Taliban militias in Afghanistan. The project, known as the Local Defense Initiative (LDI), is designed to help Afghans defend themselves against the Taliban. General Stanley A. McChrystal, the top US commander in Afghanistan, developed the program. Officials hope the plan will spurn thousands of new security forces, which would step in to resist the Taliban until more police can be trained. Although the Afghan government provides weapons and financial assistance, teams of American Special Forces have been providing training. Both military and civilian officials have high hopes about the possible success of the LDI but worry that it could promote the emergence of warlords. According to Hanif Atmar, the Afghan interior minister, “in Kunduz, [a city where the LDI has been established], after [the militia] defeated the Taliban in the village, it became the power and it took money and taxes from the people.” Until officials can find a way around the warlord problem, the LDI will be suspended.