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As Last Surge Troops Leave, Some Afghans Take Up Arms Against Taliban

As Defense Secretary Leon Panetta notes that the last of the 33,000 so-called surge troops who were added to the U.S. force in Afghanistan last year have now left the country, there's this interesting news:

In Andar, Afgahnistan, local Pashtuns have taken up arms against the Taliban, The Wall Street Journal reports. And the Journal writes that:

"U.S. Marine Gen. John Allen, the top coalition commander, has publicly compared the Andar revolt — which to a great degree pits local Pashtuns against the largely Pashtun Taliban — to the so-called Anbar Awakening, a rebellion of Iraq's Sunni tribes against al-Qaida-linked Sunni insurgents that became a turning point in the Iraq war. ...

" Village men — mostly former local Taliban, or members of the Hezb-i-Islami group of warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar — say they rose up against harsh new edicts by Taliban commanders who moved here this year from Pakistani madrassas, banning government education and imposing a more austere brand of Islam that defied local customs."

Back in February 2011, Andar was the subject of a New York Times piece on the "underground government, organized under the Taliban's banner," that had been created there. The Journal's report makes clear that the locals aren't pro-American and aren't necessarily supporters of President Hamid Karzai's government. They are, though, said to be tired of the Taliban.

Andar is in southeast Afghanistan's Ghazni province.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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