NR: "The war in Afghanistan is not going well."
Today on NewsRoom they finally played the package that was scheduled to air on the fourth night of the Afghanistan coverage -- another look at Kandahar and the option of bringing the local warlords onto US payroll (similar to what was done in Iraq) as a way of blocking support for the Taliban and (more importantly to US interests) al Qaeda.
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The war in Afghanistan is not going well. U.S. commanders tell me something dramatic has to change if the American mission here is to be saved. For months, the White House has been talking about sending in more troops, but there will never be enough, and politically back home, the will to fight this war is deteriorating rapidly.
(on camera): It's clear that the way this war is currently being fought is simply not working. The Taliban are as strong as ever. Right now, American strategy for fighting this conflict is undergoing a massive review. And it's obvious that there's simply not enough international nor Afghan troops to do the job. That's leading many to call for something that's all too familiar here in Afghanistan, the involvement of the tribes or simply a return of the warlords.
(voice-over): Senior military sources say they may draw upon the lessons of Iraq and enlist tribal militias to fight the Taliban where U.S. troops cannot. This man is the brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. He is also the powerful leader of a tribe. He tells me the only way for a U.S. victory here is to use the tribal forces.
AHMED WALI KARZAI, BROTHER OF HAMID KARZAI: You can win very easily. The right approach would be go back to the tribes.
WARE: He says with support of tribal forces, the U.S. could take away the support that Taliban needs to survive.
KARZAI: We must cut off the sources -- the transportation, the food, the drinking water, the weapons, hide my weapons, bury my dead and take my wounded to the hospital. These are all the things that it comes from the community. And people are not supporting this. They have no choice.
WARE: This other Kandahar tribal leader, Ustad Abdul Halim, says the U.S. needs a different kind of support. He was a hero of the Soviet war. He says America must turn again to the same Mujahadeen who with the CIA help defeated the Soviets.
"If America doesn't lend a hand to the Mujahadeen," he says, "it will have lost this war in Afghanistan."
Lose the war, he says, because the Mujahadeen are already disenchanted with the U.S.-backed Afghan government in Kabul.
"The Mujahadeen in this city are disabled. They lost legs, arms, eyes, and are left to sell vegetables," he says. "And the Afghan government just shuts them out. Who are these government people? They came from America and they were cleaning toilets in America as exiles while we were here hitting Russian tanks."
By rearming and employing these men, America may be able to appease them and prevent more from slipping over to the Taliban side. Already, a senior Afghan government official in Kabul confirmed to CNN a pilot program in southern Afghanistan is under way, creating what the government calls national local protectors.
American military sources say the U.S. plans to place Green Beret advisers with these militia to provide guidance, air support and to prevent abuses. Whatever you call them -- militias, warlords, national local protectors -- the option is one that the United States will need to seriously consider.
Michael Ware, CNN, Kandahar.