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Can We Buy Our Way Out Of The Afghanistan Conflict?

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It’s a little known fact that one of the big reasons Iraq turned around is we simply offered a better price than al Qaeda. Within a month the word got out that we were paying top dollar and the insurgents were turning against the terrorists and the US body count started to drop.

Will the same strategy work elsewhere?

From the Times Online:

Afghans are known for changing sides back and forth during their long years of war — there is an old saying that “you can rent an Afghan but never buy one” — and battles have often been decided by defections rather than combat.

Paying Taliban foot-soldiers to switch sides could spare US lives and save money, say its advocates. A recent report by the Senate foreign relations committee estimated the Taliban fighting strength at 15,000, of whom only 5% are committed idealogues while 70% fight for money — the so-called $10-a-day Taliban. Doubling this to win them over would cost just $300,000 a day, compared with the $165m a day the United States is spending fighting the war.

And here’s a bit about a what we did in Iraq…

The tactic was used to good effect in Iraq where the US government put 100,000 Sunni gunmen on its payroll for about $300 a month each.

Some disagree that this strategy will work without more troops, but a refocusing of priorities along with paying people to not kill us will do the trick. Afghans are like anybody else…they want to be able to provide for their families and if somebody is offering a better deal, they’ll go with the best price in town. This isn’t a holy war even though the Taliban would like to convince everybody it is.

More as it develops…