Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Most are willing to join insurgents

The National (UAE) carries a report from an unnamed Afghan journalist:

Hope battles despair in Ghazni village
Special Correspondent, The National

GHAZNI, Dec 15

... This year, the Taliban claimed to have captured Ajristan without firing a single shot. Soon afterwards, the government insisted it had regained control. People from there say power now changes hands on a regular basis, with neither side having a firm grip on the situation.

However, in scenes mirrored across southern Afghanistan, the insurgents do appear to be gaining strength. Disillusionment, rather than any kind of hardened ideology, is gradually causing people to resist.

“We are not happy with the government or the Taliban,” [a villager] said. “But the younger generations in particular get angry when the Americans and Afghan forces search people’s houses without permission. That, and high unemployment, are why they are changing face to join the Taliban.”

One British think tank has warned that millions of people throughout the country will be threatened with famine during the next few bitterly cold months. The Royal United Services Institute predicted unrest would grow if not enough is done to tackle the crisis. In Ajristan, at least, that already seems to be coming true.

“Those families living in distant villages are starving,” Mr Hashimi said. “In winter they have to share plants with the animals and some even die because of a lack of food.”

Elsewhere, poverty is also a key factor behind the frustration sweeping through the province. Mohammed Mussa, a 42-year-old taxi driver, said families in his part of Ghazni’s main district had stopped sending their daughters to school after one female student was murdered. Despite this, the number of rebels continues to increase.

Now most of the young men are willing to join the insurgents or get weapons and build their own group,” Mr Mussa said... (link)

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