Republican lawmaker: U.S. could buy support of Afghanistan's tribal leaders

A Republican member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said that the U.S. could ally itself with Afghan's tribal leaders by "buy[ing]" their "good will."

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) told Russia Today that the U.S. could earn the support of influential local chiefs if it helps them and their areas out financially.

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"For about one billion dollars we could buy the good will of all the tribal leaders and all the ethnic leaders in Afghanistan," he said. "For another billion dollars, we could put nice projects in local villages."

Rohrabacher is an opponent of President Barack Obama's plan to send 30,000 more combat troops to Afghanistan. The congressman, however, supported the Iraq war.

The California Republican briefly traveled with mujahedeen who fought against the Soviets in the central Asian nation in the late 1980s and said Afghans are brave enough to fend off the U.S.

"They will be as brave as it takes to defeat any foreign army that is there to force them to do things they don't want to do," he said. "Whether it’s the Russians, the British, Alexander the Great or the United States of America — these are courageous people."

Western forces in Afghanistan have focused their diplomatic strategy around building a stable central government there. But Rohrabacher thinks that they would be better off focusing on mending ties with powerful tribal entities.

“It’s a village tribal culture and we need to go down to work with them on that level rather than [building a central government]," he said.

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