February 5th, 2010
01:39 PM ET

Around the Web: U.S. strategy and Afghan tribes

The U.S. strategy to turn around the war in Afghanistan by winning over tribes is a “risky one,” reports McClatchy’s Thomas Day.

“Afghanistan's historically weak central governments have shared power with the country's five so-called "super-tribes" and the tribes that compose them, with 350 or so sub-tribes and with local clans, and most of the country's would-be conquerors — including the British and the Soviets — have employed their own tribal strategies,” Day writes.

“Now American officials are attending tribal meetings, staying in close touch with tribal leaders and trying to determine which leaders are friendly and which aren't,” he reports. “Those efforts, however, risk feeding traditional tribal rivalries, to the detriment of any plan to undercut the Taliban.”

Meanwhile, as fighting is expected to escalate in Afghanistan, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has “promised to provide intelligence and technology such as blast-proof trucks to NATO allies,” reports Viola Gienger of BusinessWeek.

“President Barack Obama is trying to win more support from allies in the Afghan war by helping them counter the threat of roadside bombs that cause most of the casualties. U.S. and NATO leaders are pressing allies to step up their contributions of combat troops, trainers and equipment after Obama authorized 30,000 additional American forces in December,” Gienger writes.

Some other news reports and perspectives:

 - Mikhail Gorbachev (New York Times): “Soviet lessons from Afghanistan

- Brian Glyn Williams (Foreign Policy): “In Dostum’s debt

- Bruce Reidel and Aysha Chowdhry (Brookings): “Down, but not out

 - David Ignatius (Washington Post, Registration required): “Revenge on the Taliban, from 10,000 feet

- Michael Rubin (Commentary): “Taking tea with the Taliban

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