Sobering lesson of the day:
As we've examined earlier, Mexico is having a difficult time dealing with the insurgency of cartels, namely due to the fact that the local population's loyalty actually favors cartels in many instances. This is largely due to the fact that while the local police forces are notoriously corrupt, popular culture actually portrays the cartel members as having some sort of a code of conduct.
In The Accidental Guerilla, David Kilcullen notes that a similar dynamic in Afghanistan. With the Afghan government reaching incredible levels of corruption (Afghanistan was ranked 172nd in the world in a recent corruption survey), the Taliban receives similar notoriety for incorruptability, according to Kilcullen. With corruption rampant among the judiciary system, the Taliban are actually invited in as honest brokers in mediating disputes among local tribesmen*. In fact, in mid-2008, no fewer than 13 seperate Taliban guerilla courts operated in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. When asked whom villiagers would trust to settle a dispute, the answer is almost universally, "the Taliban", even despite their reputation for cruelty.
*-In Afghan tribal culture, it is traditional to seek outsiders to mediate disputes.