An Interview with an Afghan Tribal Chief

Interview With A Tribal Chief Update

By Steven Pressfield | 7 Comments

“Interview with a Tribal Chief” is one series  that ran on the “It’s the Tribes, Stupid” blog. It featured interviews with Chief Ajmal Khan Zazai. Freerange International has a report up about Chief Zazai being ambushed by Pakistani Taliban this past week.

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Pakistan, continued

By Steven Pressfield | 5 Comments

SP: Chief Zazai, last week we were talking about Pakistan and you said there were in fact four Pakistans: the bureaucrats who are always in power, the current elected government, the army, and finally what you called the “Shadowy government” of ex-ISI and army officers who exert tremendous unseen influence. This week let’s get local and focus on your home district, the Zazi Valley in Paktia province in Afghanistan, where you are the paramount chief of eleven Pashtun tribes. You have said in previous interviews that within your valley, well-known to all residents, are a number of agents and officials…

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Pakistan

By Steven Pressfield | 10 Comments

SP: Chief Zazai, I’d like to talk to you today on the subject of Pakistan. More than any other aspect of the Afghan conflict, I think, the subject of Pakistani involvement is confusing to Americans. Even extremely well-versed observers ask, “Whose side is Pakistan on?” You, more than anyone I know, are in a position to really “tell it like it is.” So let me ask you first, what do you think is the Pakistani agenda in the current Afghan conflict? What does the government of Pakistan want?

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Thoughts on Corruption

By Steven Pressfield | 9 Comments

SP: Chief Zazai, I’d love to get your take today on the subject of corruption, because so much has been written about it recently in the American press–that cleaning up the Karzai government has become a major priority of the new Obama plan, that benchmarks will now be enforced and so on. The Western media have reported that corruption is simply a part of Afghan life, that it can never be eradicated. What do you say to this? Is it true? Is there a tribal component to corruption?

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Is Time Running Out?

By Steven Pressfield | 7 Comments

[The blog is taking Thanksgiving off; we’ll repost last week’s interview below. [On this day of gratitude, though, I want to offer a major thank-you to our weekly series contributors, Chief Ajmal Khan Zazai and Maj. Jim Gant; thanks to everyone who has logged onto the blog, circulated it and linked to it; and special thanks to all who have contributed to the Comments section. Many of the comments have been so insightful and so brilliantly-articulated (we’ve had input from troopers in the field, from veterans of all theaters and every war back to WWII; we’ve heard from officers who…

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It Was Easier Fighting the Taliban

By Steven Pressfield | 4 Comments

SP: You’ve been in Kabul the last couple of weeks, Chief Zazai. What were you doing there? Chief Zazai: I was meeting with British and American commanders, trying to get support for the Tribal Police Force program in my home valley.

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Warlords and Taliban

By Steven Pressfield | 8 Comments

[The blog is “on the road” this week.  Here is a re-run of the most clicked interview so far.  See you next week!] Welcome back, Chief Zazai, after last week’s break in our ongoing, multi-part interview. As you know, we took that space last week to post an open letter to Gens. Jones, Petraeus, McChrystal and Adm. Mullen, alerting them to your formation of a Tribal Police Force in the Zazi Valley and asking for help in aligning that force with the American troops (10th Mountain Division) whose Area of Operations (AO) includes your district. Respect for confidentiality prevents me…

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An Open Letter to Gen. James Jones, National Security Advisor

By Steven Pressfield | 12 Comments

[This week has been a rough one for our troops in Afghanistan–and a contentions one among policymakers here in the States.  I’m going to interrupt our ongoing interview with tribal chief Ajmal Khan Zazai to post this open letter.  The same note was sent by e-mail two days ago to the parties below.]

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Part 2: Warlords

By Steven Pressfield | 4 Comments

  SP: Welcome back, Chief Zazai, for this second installment of our multi-part interview. As our readers know from last week, you are a paramount chief of eleven tribes in your home district, the Zazi Valley in Paktia province. Your father fought the Soviets and the Taliban and was assassinated in 2000; you yourself have fought those fights and have survived two recent attempts on your own life. It’s a pleasure and a privilege for me to be able to talk with you today. Chief Zazai: Thank you, Mr. Pressfield, for affording me this opportunity to tell a side of…

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Part #1

By Steven Pressfield | 6 Comments

[The blog is out of town this week.  Here is a re-boot of our first post in this ongoing series. See you Monday!]

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