Afghan tribes negotiate with Nato

Tribal leaders in southern Afghanistan push for troop withdrawals in key towns.

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    Nato troops in Afghanistan pulled back from
    Musakala a month ago

    Nobody knows exactly how many people died when Panjawi was bombed. Some say as many as 80. Nato acknowledged that many were civilians. Tribal elders in Panjawi say they now want a deal similar to the one in Musakala.

    Jan Mohammed, an adviser to the Afghan president on tribal affairs, said he was strongly against such agreements.

    "Leaving that district to Taliban means changing that district to a Taliban stronghold, to a Taliban centre," he said.

    "Step by step the Taliban will go to other districts and demand the same thing and will keep demanding the same thing. That is the Taliban’s main goal…to get foreign forces out."

    Mullah Zaeef was one of the Taliban's most senior figures in his position as its ambassador to Pakistan and said he believes the deal has paid dividends.

    "What I am hearing from the people here is, in Musakala it is peaceful. The people there are going to school and going to business. The city is open and the people there are happy."

    An England flag lying on the ground is one of the few remnants of the British presence in Musakala. Tribal leaders are the people who now appear to be in control.

    The question now is if this is a model that can be extended to other towns in southern towns in Afghanistan.

    The Nato spokesman in the region told Al Jazeera that no formal negotiations are taking place but said that they meet tribal leaders on an almost daily basis.

    However, tribal sources say there will be a major meeting next week and added they will be pushing for a withdrawal of forces as in Musakala.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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