Saturday, April 7, 2007
At least we felt safe under the extremists, say Kandahar residents too afraid to go out after dark
"Faiz Mohammed Karigar, a father of two, fled Kandahar when the Taliban held power in Afghanistan because he was against their restrictions on education. Now he wants the fundamentalists back.
"When the Taliban were here, I escaped to the border with Iran, but I was never worried about my family," he said. "Every single minute of the last three years I have been very worried. Maybe tonight the Americans will come to my house, molest my wife and children and arrest me.".......
The failure of Nato forces to deliver security and development and rising civilian casualties inflicted by Western forces in clashes with the Taliban have led to a loss of support in Kandahar. "How can we forgive the Americans?" asked Mr Karigar, who like most people here does not distinguish among the different elements in Nato. "I will fight them any way I can."......
Whatever the cause of the bloodshed, the local population almost always blames the foreign soldiers in their midst. Even moderate Afghans are openly declaring they will join the insurgency.
The British Government calls the Taliban "terrorists" and "extremists", but people in Kandahar associate it with security. Before the 2001 invasion, they say, they could walk the streets safely as long as they complied with the movement's strict interpretation of Islamic law. Now even a simple outing to the local market is seen as a risk, and the Taliban, established as a response to lawlessness in the 1990s, is gaining fresh strength.
"I think life under the Taliban was very good," said Maria Farah, a mother of five. "If we did not have a full stomach, we could at least get some food and go to sleep, and if we went out somewhere there were no problems. How about now? If we go out, we don't know if we will arrive home or not. If there is an explosion and the Americans are passing, they will just open fire on everyone. The security problems are too much here."......."