Afghans are known for changing sides back and forth during their long years of war — there is an old saying that “you can rent an Afghan but never buy one” — and battles have often been decided by defections rather than combat.
Paying Taliban foot-soldiers to switch sides could spare US lives and save money, say its advocates. A recent report by the Senate foreign relations committee estimated the Taliban fighting strength at 15,000, of whom only 5% are committed idealogues while 70% fight for money — the so-called $10-a-day Taliban. Doubling this to win them over would cost just $300,000 a day, compared with the $165m a day the United States is spending fighting the war.
This seems like a thoroughly good idea, bribery gets a bad reputation but in a war there is nothing wrong with it. The Colombian civil war is being won by the government partly because they are offering the FARC foot soldiers money to come in from the cold. If many of the Afghans are fighting for money then it is shameful that the USA and Europe are being outbid by a bunch of cave dwellers for whom the goat considered a form of high technology.
Update: In the comments Mark points to this, which is advocating a similar strategy but not calling it bribery.