Sunday, July 8, 2007

Candid in Kandahar

The Afghanistan Watch blog has lately carried some first-hand accounts of Afghanistan by Tom Perriello, an NGO official working there. Recently, he wrote about a trip to Kandahar, including "an evening spent with four Afghan men in their mid-20s, all employed":

The early rounds of the conversation began with the usual comments, including great praise for the job US troops did post-Taliban and some critiques of the backsliding under Canadian forces. They too lambasted the government for its corruption and international forces for civilian casualties and house invasions, but remained largely in favor of a strong US and ISAF troop presence.

But an hour into the conversation, as trust built (and most dropped their assumption that I was CIA), the criticisms of international forces became increasingly intense. Eventually I asked each what he would do if made President of Afghanistan...

[T]his guy I shall call Abdul said, “The first thing I would do is kick out every single foreign troop. Every one one of them. I would not ask them to leave. I would order them out. Starting with the Americans. Now.” Within minutes, the entire group was eagerly on board with the agenda, even those who earlier in the conversation had advocated for a US troop surge...

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