La Dépêche.fr, January 19, 2009
Afghanistan: slipping back into chaos
"Nobody I know wants to see the Taliban back in power," a Kabul inhabitant says – "but people hate Hamid Karzai and his deeply corrupted government.
Fundamentalism and corruption could lead to the collapse of Afghanistan in the very near future – not to the democratic and peaceful country that the world promised to create seven years ago. In the past 11 months, more than 4,000 people, including civilians, Nato troops and aid workers, have been killed. The Red Cross has already warned that they are having to drastically cut back on humanitarian operations in large areas of the country.
Ramzan Bashardost, a member of Afghanistan's parliament, a fierce Karzai critic, and a one-time minister of Planning, says the estimated $21 billion of foreign aid "did not build anything." "Anything," he repeats for effect. "It is not possible to show me that in seven years in Afghanistan we built a [single] school [that meets] international norms," Bashardost says. "The Kabul-Kandahar road: It is a famous road which Mr. Karzai said [was] a good job; two years after [its] reconstruction, now the road needs to be rebuilt."
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Jan. 19, 2009
Despite the overthrow in 2001, the Taliban still have a strong presence in the country. The Taliban operate their own courts in some remote areas, and are growing in numbers; fighters from Kashmir, Uzbekistan, Chechnya, or Turkey are joining the Taliban’s ranks. Even Afghans working for the UN or for charitable organisations are coming under more and more pressure to give information to the Taliban.
The Afghan Minister of Defence has 65,000 troops but has said that he needs 500,000 to control Afghanistan. In Baghdad’s ‘Green Zone’, both Hamid Karzai’s government and the Iraqi cabinet are powerless. The first Taliban checkpoints are 15 miles from Kabul and violence is present everyday. The Taliban and Hamid Karzai’s government are both executing their prisoners.
"Nobody I know wants to see the Taliban back in power," a Kabul inhabitant says – "but people hate Hamid Karzai and his deeply corrupted government. The parliament and the government are useless and don't care about our security. With so many internally displaced refugees pouring into Kabul from the countryside, there's mass unemployment – but of course, there are no statistics.”
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