Friday, December 26, 2008

The Little Blue Counterterrorism Pill?

This isn't quite the same thing as the Anbar Awakening, but the outcome might be just the same. Apparently the CIA has hit upon a strategy that might entice local warlords to fight against the Taliban and assist the NATO and US efforts to eliminate the Taliban and al Qaeda threat in Afghanistan.

It's called Viagra.
In an effort to win over fickle warlords and chieftains in Afghanistan and get information from them, CIA officials are handing out Viagra pills in exchange for their cooperation, the Washington Post reports.

"Whatever it takes to make friends and influence people - whether it's building a school or handing out Viagra," an agency operative, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the Post.

The growing Taliban insurgency has forced the agency to get creative in how they obtain certain information from Afghan warlords and tribal leaders, including Taliban movements and supply routes.

CIA operatives use everything from toys and school equipment to tooth extractions to their advantage and note that if Americans don't offer incentives, others, including Taliban commanders, will.

Afghan veterans told the Post that the usual bribes of choice - cash and weapons - aren't always the best options because they can garner unwanted attention and fall into the wrong hands.

"If you give an asset $1,000, he'll go out and buy the shiniest junk he can find, and it will be apparent that he has suddenly come into a lot of money from someone," Jamie Smith, a veteran of CIA covert operations in Afghanistan, told the Post.
Sex sells, and apparently the warlords have a need for the little blue pill as much as any other group. The CIA has apparently hit upon a winning combination that improves its access and contacts while avoiding the problems associated with other methods such as cash, weapons, or equipment that can bring unwarranted attention.

No comments: