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Afghan militias and policemen gather as they discuss during a battle at the Chardara district of Kunduz province, May 3, 2015. Reuters/Stringer

Reuters: Stretched Afghan army falls back on militias to help defend Kunduz

The Afghan government has enlisted hundreds of militia fighters controlled by local commanders to battle Taliban militants near the northern city of Kunduz, officials said, underlining how the armed forces are struggling to tackle the insurgency alone.

The recruitment of unofficial armed groups in Kunduz is on a larger scale than previous attempts by the government and NATO forces to recruit militias in the fight against the Taliban.

It may also signal a compromise of sorts for President Ashraf Ghani's administration, which had been trying to curb the influence of so-called "mujahideen" strongmen who held key positions in former President Hamid Karzai's government.

Ghani's spokesman, Ajmal Abidy, denied that the Kunduz recruitment amounted to re-arming mujahideen militias.

WNU Editor: Warlords and their militias have been a fact of life for Afghanistan since the withdrawal of Soviet forces in the late 1980s. In fact .... some are calling this a "return to normal" .... Afghanistan: It Is All Just Business (Strategy Page)

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