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One Tribe at a Time

chApter iii

tribeS underStAnd people, protection, power And projection

F IRST, TRIBES UNDERSTAND PEOPLE. Being illiterate does not mean unintelligent. Tribes- men are extremely adept at understanding one another and others. As I have preached and preached to the Special Forces ocers headed to Afghanistan that I have trained in the unconventional warfare (UW) portion of their training, “You damn well better know yourself, because they know you.” e Afghan people have a knack for looking straight through deception and incompetence.

Second, tribes understand protection. Tribes are organized and run to ensure the security of the tribe. Not only physical security, but revenue and land protection. But most important of all is preservation of the tribal name and reputation. Honor is every- thing in a tribal society. Tribes will ght and die over honor alone (I will speak more about this later). is concept is not understood by a vast majority of strate- gists who are trying to nd solutions to challenges we are facing in Afghanistan.

Trust me when I tell you, not only are they as smart as you are, they know they are.

When honor is at stake, tribal members stop at nothing to preserve their tribe’s integrity and “face.

Program for Culture & Conflict Studies www.nps.edu/programs/ccs

References

Tribes are the most important aspect of Afghan society and have been for centuries.

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