Taking Aim At the Taliban

Rebuilding the Afghan national army is slow going, but it may be key to winning the war

Alvaro Ybarra Zavala / Vu

A soldier in the Afghan National Army returns fire during an enemy ambush in Kunar province. The troops patrol a transit point frequently used by Taliban fighters crossing in from Pakistan.

In Afghanistan, they are making an army from enemies. During the country's civil war nearly two decades ago, Ahmad Zai Waris and Zubir Ahmad fought on opposite sides of the lines, Waris heading a mujahedin group determined to drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan and Ahmad as a soldier fighting for the Soviet-backed government. Now Waris and Ahmad live together on a military base in Afghanistan's eastern province of Kunar, hard against the Pakistan border. They often stay up late talking about guerrilla tactics of the past and how to use them against their new, shared adversary: the Taliban. "If we...

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