The Afghan government agreed Wednesday to a NATO-backed program that will establish local defense forces to fight the Taliban, a concession by President Hamid Karzai, who had long resisted it. After 12 days of intense discussions between Karzai and newly appointed NATO commander David Petraeus—who helped enable the similar Sunni Awakening in Iraq—Karzai agreed to the program. American officials said they hoped the program would grow to 10,000 members, although Afghan officials hope to keep it small. All local police will be merged into one police force. The new police force comes after a violent week in Afghanistan.
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