October 29, 2007

WELCOME TO SURGESTAN:

Key tribal leader on verge of deserting Taliban (Tom Coghlan, 29/10/2007, Daily Telegraph)

An Afghan tribal leader is in talks to defect from the Taliban and take thousands of armed tribesmen with him to fight alongside British forces in southern Afghanistan.

The Daily Telegraph has learned that the Afghan government hopes to seal the deal this week with Mullah Abdul Salaam and his Alizai tribe, which has been fighting alongside the Taliban in Helmand province.

Diplomats confirmed yesterday that Mullah Salaam was expected to change sides within days. He is a former Taliban corps commander and governor of Herat province under the government that fell in 2001.

Military sources said British forces in the province are "observing with interest" the potential deal in north Helmand, which echoes the efforts of US commanders in Iraq's western province to split Sunni tribal leaders from their al-Qa'eda allies.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 29, 2007 7:48 PM
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