Friday, June 8, 2007
By Syed Saleem Shahzad
"HERAT - Most insurgency-related activity in Afghanistan over the past year, with the Taliban at the core, has been concentrated in the southwest and southeast of the country.
However, trouble is brewing in the northwest, along the Iran-Afghanistan border, although the underlying motivations for opposing the Kabul administration and North Atlantic Treaty Organization-led forces are markedly different from other regions......
Haji Bismal, a middle-aged villager, continued the theme. "NATO has a bizarre explanation for everything. Once they arrested some people from our area and took them to Bagram base [near Kabul]. They were asked to recite some verses from the Koran. When they did, they were declared as Taliban.
"I tell you, the Soviet army was far better than the Americans. At least they used to warn us before an attack to withdraw our families and children. NATO does not care about anything, and it bombs an area without caring about women and children. You will have seen our devastated homes; what relation do we have with any fighting or with the Taliban?".....
During the Taliban regime (1996-2001) many people from Shindand joined the Taliban, but eventually moved on to exile in Iran. Now they are being returned against their will. And incidents like the bombing of Bakht serve as a catalyst to increase the anti-foreign movement in northwestern Afghanistan, even if it has nothing to do with the Taliban movement. "