News from the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA)
News from the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA)




Add RAWA RSS Feed to Feedreaders



Help RAWA: Order from our wish list on

RAWA Channel on Youtube

Follow RAWA on Twitter

Join RAWA on Facebook

Associated Press, February 16, 2011

Some Afghans say insecurity persists despite surge

Residents of the impoverished city of 800,000 people live in fear, even as they see heavily armed NATO troops patrolling the streets in armored vehicles every day and snarling traffic

Kathy Gannon

Schoolteacher Abdul Rahman drops his voice to a whisper as he watches U.S. troops guard a street where insurgents attacked a police headquarters a day earlier in this capital of the province that was the birthplace of the Taliban.

a private security guard watches a sensitive neighborhood in Kandahar, Afghanistan
In this Feb. 13, 2011 picture, a private security guard watches a sensitive neighborhood in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Many in this impoverished city still feel insecure even after 10 years of NATO presence in the capital of the province that was the birthplace of the Taliban. (Photo: AP/Anja Niedringhaus)

"The foreign forces are everywhere, but they are not helping us," Rahman said as he sat in a cracked plastic lawn chair with his friends outside a photo shop.

Residents of the impoverished city of 800,000 people live in fear, even as they see heavily armed NATO troops patrolling the streets in armored vehicles every day and snarling traffic. There are 1,600 Afghan policemen in Kandahar — 800 more than last year. The Afghan police are partnered with 850 U.S. military police — up from 170 last summer. Still most Afghans are deeply suspicious of their police, they often see as corrupt.

In a brazen daytime suicide attack, Taliban militants wearing explosives-filled vests hit the police station with an arsenal of car bombs, automatic rifle fire and rocket-propelled grenades over the weekend. At least 18 people, many of them police, died and dozens were wounded. Earlier this month, the deputy governor of the province was killed by a suicide bomber.

The owner of the photo shop, a man named Sadiqullah, knows that his business would have been banned under the Taliban, whose rigid Islamic teachings also forbade television and music. Yet he said he would trade his ability to run a photo studio for security.

"Now that the Taliban are gone we can work in our shop, but there is no security and no business," said Sadiqullah. "During the Taliban, there was security. There were no thieves. Whoever can bring us security — those are the ones we want. Nothing is more important than our lives."

Frustrated and fearful residents wonder about their fate nearly 10 years after the Taliban abandoned their headquarters and Washington's Afghan allies took power.

Washington's top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus, says security has improved since tens of thousands of troops were deployed in the south and his counterinsurgency strategy kicked into high gear

But the weekend attack on the Kandahar police headquarters in the center of Kandahar demonstrated the difficulty NATO and U.S. soldiers face in undercutting the Taliban's ability to terrorize.

"Where is the security?" asked Bibi, a scarf embroiderer who has lived her 60-plus years in Kandahar and has little good to say about the past decade since the U.S.-led invasion liberated Afghanistan from Taliban rule. "Every day has gotten worse for the last 10 years."

Paindo, a frail-looking woman in her 40s who sat on a carpeted floor working with Bibi, added: "It just keeps getting worse."

Attacks also have picked up in Kabul — three since mid-January compared with four in the last six months of 2010. The attacks came despite NATO's efforts to kill and detain insurgent leaders, seize weapons and tighten security around population centers.

Petraeus has tempered assessments of Taliban defeats and NATO successes with a warning of greater bloodshed in the months ahead as the weather warms. That's when the success of operations in districts surrounding the city of Kandahar — Panjwai, Zhari and Arghandab — will be put to the test. Insurgents traditionally step up fighting as winter fades to spring and movement becomes easier.

"They are still there. They have a say, and they can be strong," German Brig. Gen. Josef Blotz, a spokesman for the international military coalition, said Monday about the recent attack in Kandahar. "But, bottom line ... we can clearly see we were able to make progress in terms of weakening the insurgency."

Several villagers interviewed by The Associated Press from the Arghandab district said they would wait for spring to decide whether the Taliban's guerrilla fighting abilities have been weakened.

"There is no Taliban operations just because of the winter. We will know when spring comes," said Mohammed Anwar of the Argandab district's village of Chor Gholba. "If this time they have no success against the Taliban, then for us we will think they cannot win this battle ever. Our houses have been destroyed by NATO and still if they cannot take and keep hold of the area, they should get out."

NATO troops leveled dozens of houses to clear the area of improvised explosive devices and booby traps, Anwar said.

In the last four months, NATO has paid about $1.4 million in compensation to Afghan villagers but Anwar complained that corrupt government officials have distributed the money to their friends and relatives, ignoring others whose property was damaged or destroyed.

When the Taliban were still in charge in Kandahar, residents wondered why Osama bin Laden didn't use his money to build roads and improve life in the city. They were told that if life was too comfortable, nobody would be inspired to fight.

Several residents angrily asked why their life was no better with the ouster of the Taliban, although none was willing to be quoted by name on a subject that involved bin Laden.

Today — with Kandahar still lacking electricity, with roads still deeply potholed, and with scores of daily wage earners standing in freezing early morning weather hoping to get work at a construction site or digging ditches — many lament that the billions of dollars in Western aid that has come to Afghanistan has not brought basic services or improvements.

Ahmed Wali Karzai, head of the Kandahar provincial council and brother of President Hamid Karzai, said ordinary Afghans have an unrealistic view of the international forces, particularly the Americans. In an interview at his well-protected home in Kandahar, he explained that the U.S., in particular, is a hostage to its own superpower image.

Most Afghans don't understand why the United States hasn't been able to defeat the insurgency in the last decade.

"A country as powerful as the United States could crush the Taliban if they wanted to," said Abdullah, who uses only one name and works for an aid organization.

"How is it possible that the Taliban with only Kalashnikovs and explosives cannot be defeated by America?" he asked.

His only explanation is the popular conspiracy theory among Afghans that U.S. and NATO forces are secretly working with the Taliban and Pakistan in order keep a permanent presence in the country.

"They want to stay here," Abdullah said. "That is why we have this insecurity."

Kathy Gannon is Special Regional Correspondent for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Category: Taliban/ISIS/Terrorism, US-NATO, HR Violations - Views: 8876


15.02.2011: 112 Afghans killed in the past week
14.02.2011: The reality of Britain’s War in Afghanistan
10.02.2011: Afghan war killed 2 children daily in 2010: report
26.01.2011: Afghanistan’s Situation Gets Worse Because of Foreign Army
25.01.2011: West’s portrayal of Afghan war deceptive: group
24.01.2011: Canada in Afghanistan – The Big Lie machine
22.01.2011: Woman overrun by ISAF vehicle in Herat
20.01.2011: “Eid Gul was just one of 69 Afghan Civilians Killed by US/NATO Forces during December 2010”
18.01.2011: ISAF strike kills 6 of a family in Kunar
10.01.2011: Three Afghan police killed in Nato air strike
24.12.2010: NATO Night Raid in Kabul Leaves Afghan Guards Dead
16.12.2010: NATO air strike kills 4 Afghan soldiers: ministry
10.12.2010: Obama/Pentagon Lies to Set the War Narrative and Where Afghan Civilian Deaths Do Matter
09.12.2010: NOT WORTH IT: Every Predator drone in Afghanistan costs taxpayers 4.5 million USD
06.12.2010: Afghan poll shows falling confidence in U.S. efforts to secure country
01.12.2010: Coalition ramps up air war over Afghanistan, mindful of civilian casualties
30.11.2010: Villagers claim deaths, complicating Afghan push
29.11.2010: Hungry for Some Truth on the Afghanistan War
23.11.2010: Using terrorism as a threat
19.11.2010: The Murderous U.S. Government Explained
01.11.2010: Afghan civilian deaths caused by allied forces rise
28.10.2010: The evil side of America
27.10.2010: How British forces fired on Afghan civilians
25.10.2010: NATO Airstrike Kills 15 in Afghanistan
23.10.2010: Afghans say two students killed by NATO troops
22.10.2010: NATO forces put civilians in danger while pounding Taliban strongholds in Afghanistan
16.10.2010: The war on Afghanistan: a crime against humanity
15.10.2010: Afghan War, Afghan Holocaust & Afghan Genocide 9th Anniversary - 4.9 million dead, 3.2 million refugees: report
13.10.2010: Civilian casualties doubled in north: UN
13.10.2010: Afghans say Nato “as bad as the Taliban”
13.10.2010: Afghanistan Air Strikes Up 172 Percent
12.10.2010: 6 civilians killed as rocket hits car in Paktika
12.10.2010: Afghan Warlords, a Larger Stability Threat Than Taliban
12.10.2010: Afghanistan going “from worse to worse”
12.10.2010: ICRC: Kandahar casualties reflect worsening security
11.10.2010: Afghan activist makes call in for end to “occupation” of her country
07.10.2010: Protesters rally against war in Afghanistan
06.10.2010: Afghan women’s rights leader says Obama no better than Bush
05.10.2010: War renders displacement, miseries to Afghans
05.10.2010: Nine children among 10 killed in Kandahar
04.10.2010: Afghan civilians killed in foreign air strike-police
04.10.2010: Afghanistan nine years on
04.10.2010: Relatives Tell of Civilians Killed by U.S. Soldiers
01.10.2010: Photos of dead Afghans were traded by U.S. soldiers, Army says
01.10.2010: Australian soldiers charged over civilian killings in Afghanistan
30.09.2010: Grisly allegations against U.S. soldier
30.09.2010: Thousands of Afghans displaced by fighting
30.09.2010: Most Canadians agree it’s time to leave Afghanistan: Global poll
29.09.2010: Outsourcing the Dirty War in Afghanistan
28.09.2010: An Excess of Corruption and a Deficit of Toilets: American and Karzai’s “Successes” in Afghanistan
26.09.2010: 20 % Increase in Birth Deformities in Afghanistan
25.09.2010: Laghman civilian deaths spark protest
20.09.2010: Residents happy as UK forces quit Sangin
19.09.2010: US-led offensives kill six Afghan civilians
19.09.2010: U.S. strike kills 70 in Afghanistan
18.09.2010: Members of U.S. platoon in Afghanistan accused of killing civilians for sport
17.09.2010: Afghanistan’s Dark Cloud Has No Silver Lining
07.09.2010: “U.S.-Led Airstrikes Kill 14 In Afghanistan”
04.09.2010: One Year After the Kunduz Air Strike - No Sign of a Full Investigation
02.09.2010: NATO air strike kills 10 civilians: Afghan president


Most Viewed