Andrew Thomson

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Soldiers of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission train Afghan soldiers during military exercises at Sohrab camp in Helmand province on Nov. 19. (Watan Yar/European Pressphoto Agency-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Is mobilizing local community militias in Afghanistan an effective solution to an insurgency? U.S. military policymakers in Afghanistan recently proposed a “new” Afghan National Army Territorial Force to supplement U.S. and Afghan forces. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is considering the plan.

In the short term, recruiting local forces to defend their own community can be a low-cost way to sustain control of disputed territory. In particular, local militias can provide valuable intelligence on the whereabouts of insurgents, and therefore help prevent the state from committing indiscriminate violence against civilians.

But our research suggests that using civilians to identify insurgents typically provokes a response from rebel groups — and actually increases their use of violence against civilians.…  Seguir leyendo »