L/rain
54°
L/rain
Hi 59° | Lo 42°

Commander Encouraged  By Anti-Taliban Uprising

  • FILE - In this Dec. 13, 2012 file-pool photo, Army Maj. Gen. Robert Abrams is seen at Kandahar Airfield in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Villagers in an area of southern Afghanistan that was the birthplace of the Taliban movement two decades ago have staged a first-of-its-kind uprising against the insurgents, a senior American commander said Wednesday. Abrams said in a video teleconference with reporters at the Pentagon that this was a new and promising development in Kandahar province with the potential to spread to other districts even as U.S. and allied forces are playing more of a back seat role in fighting the insurgency.  (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool, File)

    FILE - In this Dec. 13, 2012 file-pool photo, Army Maj. Gen. Robert Abrams is seen at Kandahar Airfield in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Villagers in an area of southern Afghanistan that was the birthplace of the Taliban movement two decades ago have staged a first-of-its-kind uprising against the insurgents, a senior American commander said Wednesday. Abrams said in a video teleconference with reporters at the Pentagon that this was a new and promising development in Kandahar province with the potential to spread to other districts even as U.S. and allied forces are playing more of a back seat role in fighting the insurgency. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool, File)

  • FILE - In this Dec. 13, 2012 file-pool photo, Army Maj. Gen. Robert Abrams is seen at Kandahar Airfield in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Villagers in an area of southern Afghanistan that was the birthplace of the Taliban movement two decades ago have staged a first-of-its-kind uprising against the insurgents, a senior American commander said Wednesday. Abrams said in a video teleconference with reporters at the Pentagon that this was a new and promising development in Kandahar province with the potential to spread to other districts even as U.S. and allied forces are playing more of a back seat role in fighting the insurgency.  (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool, File)

    FILE - In this Dec. 13, 2012 file-pool photo, Army Maj. Gen. Robert Abrams is seen at Kandahar Airfield in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Villagers in an area of southern Afghanistan that was the birthplace of the Taliban movement two decades ago have staged a first-of-its-kind uprising against the insurgents, a senior American commander said Wednesday. Abrams said in a video teleconference with reporters at the Pentagon that this was a new and promising development in Kandahar province with the potential to spread to other districts even as U.S. and allied forces are playing more of a back seat role in fighting the insurgency. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool, File)

  • FILE - In this Dec. 13, 2012 file-pool photo, Army Maj. Gen. Robert Abrams is seen at Kandahar Airfield in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Villagers in an area of southern Afghanistan that was the birthplace of the Taliban movement two decades ago have staged a first-of-its-kind uprising against the insurgents, a senior American commander said Wednesday. Abrams said in a video teleconference with reporters at the Pentagon that this was a new and promising development in Kandahar province with the potential to spread to other districts even as U.S. and allied forces are playing more of a back seat role in fighting the insurgency.  (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool, File)
  • FILE - In this Dec. 13, 2012 file-pool photo, Army Maj. Gen. Robert Abrams is seen at Kandahar Airfield in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Villagers in an area of southern Afghanistan that was the birthplace of the Taliban movement two decades ago have staged a first-of-its-kind uprising against the insurgents, a senior American commander said Wednesday. Abrams said in a video teleconference with reporters at the Pentagon that this was a new and promising development in Kandahar province with the potential to spread to other districts even as U.S. and allied forces are playing more of a back seat role in fighting the insurgency.  (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool, File)

Washington — Villagers in an area of southern Afghanistan that was the birthplace of the Taliban movement two decades ago have staged a first-of-its-kind uprising against the insurgents, a senior American commander said yesterday.

Army Maj. Gen. Robert B. Abrams said in a video teleconference with reporters at the Pentagon that this was a new and promising development in Kandahar province with the potential to spread to other districts even as U.S. and allied forces are playing more of a back-seat role in fighting the insurgency.

“This is absolutely the first time that we have seen this sort of an uprising, where the people have said, ‘Enough is enough,’ ” Abrams said, speaking from his headquarters in Kandahar city. He commands 14,000 U.S. troops in southern Afghanistan whose role has switched from direct combat to helping Afghan forces take the lead.

Abrams said the uprising in the Panjwai district of Kandahar province began about one month ago, and at this point the Taliban have been “kicked out” of all but about four villages — not at the initiative of Afghan or coalition troops but that of the villagers. “I suspect the rest of those villages will fall here in short order,” Abrams said.

Abrams said Afghan officials told him there were two main triggers of the uprising. One was the arrival about six weeks ago of a new district police chief with “a renewed energy, vigor, an offensive mindset.” The second was the beating of a villager by Taliban fighters who, when reprimanded by the village elder, proceeded to humiliate the elder.

“That was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Abrams said.