Monday, March 21, 2005

Taliban Nostalgia

/ liberation / unconvincing /
A wave of crime in [Kandahar] -- including [a child's] killing two months ago, and a bombing Thursday that killed at least five people -- has evoked a growing local nostalgia for the Taliban era of 1996 to 2001, when the extremist Islamic militia imposed law and order by draconian means.

Residents reached their boiling point last week, after a second kidnapped boy was killed. Hundreds of men poured into the streets, demanding that President Hamid Karzai fire the provincial governor and police chief. Some threw rocks at military vehicles and chanted, "Down with the warlords!" Witnesses recalled some adding, "Bring back the Taliban!"

Thus does the Washington Post describe the reactions of the residents of Kandahar. As far as the issues concerning the majority of the population, it seems that the current group of warlords that Karzai is allied with, are making life for the vast majority of people (outside Kabul) even worse than under the Taliban. And Kandahar id a Karzai-friendly city: "The rising discontent in Kandahar could prove particularly problematic for Karzai, who was born here and has drawn much support from the region's Pashtun ethnic group to which he belongs. Many Kandaharis, once alienated by the harsh rule of the Taliban, say their early support for Karzai is now giving way to a grudging nostalgia for the Taliban era."
It's worth noting as well, that VCRs and Satellite dishes are reported as being now available in Afghanistan. As this is one of the poorest countries in the world we're talking about - it's quite obvious that those that would take advantage of the availability of such merchandise are either warlords, western employees or entrepreneurs taking advantage of the recent liberalization of agricultural production in the country. A step in the right direction surely for the "liberation" of Afghanistan. Elites living in westernized comfort in their heavily guarded and luxurious homes, while the rest of the population is kept under chaotic random violence and left to their misery and superstition. Sounds like a winning recipe...

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