War-weary people fear little hope of peace
Chris Sands - The National (UAE)
KABUL, Mar 9 - Afghans in Kabul see no realistic hope of peace on the horizon, with insurgents, the government and foreign troops all being blamed for the chaos enveloping the country...
[M]any are calling for an end to the occupation and demanding a greater emphasis on serious negotiations with rebel leaders, even though they believe such talks will probably fail.
"The best way to bring peace is for the Americans to leave the country. Right now you can see if an American vehicle passes here the soldiers will block the road. Why? They came to bring security for us but now they are just trying to make good security for themselves," said Fazel Mohammed, as he sold strawberries from a wooden cart...
If recent weeks are anything to go by, it looks like violence could escalate far beyond the record levels it hit last year. In January and February, the number of American troop fatalities increased threefold compared with the same period in 2008. Meanwhile, according to the Associated Press, foreign soldiers were responsible for more civilian deaths in those first two months than the insurgents...
Asked if US and Nato soldiers should continue to stay, Sayed Ibrahim, a local resident, said: "The majority of Afghans don’t like having foreigners in their country." He added that dialogue was necessary, although it probably would not be successful.
"I think if the government tries to arrest [Mr Hekmatyar] and put him in jail the people of Afghanistan will not be happy. He has lots of supporters and if they arrest him the situation will only get worse." ... (link)
Monday, March 9, 2009