December 6th, 2010
08:01 AM ET

The dangerous life of Kandahar's mayor

Kandahar, Afghanistan — For the mayor of Kandahar, public service at the helm of Afghanistan's second-largest city carries a grave risk. His last two deputies were assassinated, and Ghulam Hayder Hamidi survived a roadside bomb 15 months ago.

"There was one guy standing there, the blood was dripping from his fingers," Hamidi told NATO Television. "I walked to my office, the car was completely gone."

Two people died and six were wounded in the attack, according to NATO.

But some of the mayor's duties are like those of any other mayor. He frets about cleaning up garbage and keeping the sidewalks clear. "These shopkeepers occupy the sidewalks completely," he said. "The traffic problems will happen and who's responsible? I am."

His office is in a historic building defended by a heavy, metal fence and barbed wire. Once a reporter has made his way to the building, an armed guard standing outside must give approval before the reporter can reach the mayor's office.

The office itself is under repair - no windows, no heat. There, on a recent day, the 64-year-old man went about the business of running a city of more than 500,000 people, writing petitions for those who were seeking his help.

Though he insists that security in the city is improving, he acknowledged that he himself does not feel safe. "These days - not," he said. "Because I got the warning ... three times."

In a walk outside his office, one of his guards interrupted him before he reached the street. "The security company is saying don't walk," he explained to a reporter accompanying him.

When he travels inside his bulletproof vehicle, a gift from Canada, Hamidi's vulnerability becomes apparent. The vehicle is dwarfed by military trucks that themselves are often no match for roadside bombs.

Though the primary enemies to U.S. forces here are the Taliban, Hamidi says he is more worried about corrupt officials. "These kind of police warlords, drug dealers and power brokers are enemies for security and development," he said.

He pointed to a road-widening project outside a property that belongs to the new police chief, whom he describes as a warlord.

"Yes, yes, he was, he is," said Hamidi, who added that he could barely believe that President Hamid Karzai had appointed one of the region's warlords to the job.

"Very bad things they do," Hamidi said. "They destroy Kandahar. Now, how will he build Kandahar? How he will bring peace here?"

Hamidi called for the military effort against the Taliban to move forward with haste. "We have to do very quickly," he said. "We have to show to our people good service and quickly. These people are hungry for good service."

But the mayor's plans have hit roadblocks. For example, a store owned by a minister's family was knocked down in an attempt to improve a street, and they appealed to a higher authority. "They complained direct to the president," Hamidi said.

"He is making the story to President Karzai that 'Mayor Hamidi destroyed my grandfather's mosque.' "

Hamidi acknowledges that his city plans don't have universal support, but he blames tribal differences for the criticism.

Meanwhile, though his family wants him to quit before he's attacked again, he said he has no plans to heed their advice. "I was born in this province," he said. "I eat from this province. I educate from this province. I study from this province. and I have good times in this province and I owe this province. I have to work for this, my city."

But if that work does not succeed, its failure could put the planned U.S. withdrawal at risk.

Some 150,000 coalition forces are in Afghanistan. Their aim is to train the Afghan security forces to prepare for transition from certain areas of Afghanistan beginning in July 2011.

soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. LarryKegel(US Army)

    If You don't stop Using My Name!!! I will find out Who You Are and turn You over to CNN!!! It is not funny anymore You idiot!!!

    December 13, 2010 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      Bedso: Idiot!!!

      December 13, 2010 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
      • Bledsoe

        No Larry,not Bedso,Bledsoe. By the way,I'm not the bozo who called you a Commie above. That was my impostor(Punnie boy) who blogs in here for his personal amusement. Try not to let him get your goat.

        December 14, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
      • Bledsoe

        Sorry Larry,I meant Phunnie boy,not Punnie boy above.

        December 14, 2010 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
      • Bledsoe

        Tsk-Tsk!

        December 14, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
      • Kerry

        Here we go again!

        December 14, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
      • LarryKegel(US Army)

        I just wish they could stop the Boozo from doing it!!! It isn't fair to those of us that uses are real name...

        December 14, 2010 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
      • Bledsoe

        Are-real-names?

        December 16, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. tony

    Religion is the cause of many wars,Islam is outdated soooo old school,ragheads

    December 12, 2010 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      Why blame the Religion??? I would blame the Right Wing in the Religion for the problems!!! Look what is happening in the United States... That has nothing to do with Religion!!!

      December 13, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
      • Bledsoe

        Commie!

        December 13, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • LarryKegel(US Army)

        I'll show you who's a Commie,you j$cka$$!!! Sorry about the Tea Party lingo but I'm getting ticked-off!

        December 13, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
      • Spiro T.Agnew

        Maybe he's right. Keep on blogging away,Phunnie boy. At least I'm on your side.

        December 13, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
      • Bledsoe

        Intend-to!

        December 14, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. LarryKegel(US Army)

    Dan In Lafayette,IN: Why do You think We are training Them to take care of Themselves??? So that Foreign Countries wouldn't be running Their Country!!!

    December 12, 2010 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  4. LarryKegel(US Army)

    Amen To Those!!!

    December 10, 2010 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. LarryKegel(US Army)

    My Friend We do not want to kill anyone... But if someone attacks up We attack back!!!

    December 10, 2010 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. LarryKegel(US Army)

    It is a shame that People on either side dies!!! But People have to dies to make things better in That Country... May They rest in PEACE... The Tarriest I hope You go to hell and suffer!!!

    December 10, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Farid

    Good luck to you and your president.

    December 9, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      Will need it!!!

      December 10, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dan in Lafayette, IN

        No Larry,the Afghans will need it if they hope to be free of foreign rule which they do not want!

        December 12, 2010 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
      • Green Hornet

        Amen to that!!!

        December 12, 2010 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
  8. Ghost-of-Kandahar

    I smell an ISI rat here!

    December 7, 2010 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Dan in Lafayette, IN

      So do I,Ghost. The ISI and the C.I.A. work in concert and there's no two ways about it!

      December 7, 2010 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Dindy.....

      Ghost of Kandahar......thank you for letting us know you are out there. Lets meet again.

      December 7, 2010 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dindy.....

        If you are a Kandahar ghost...must be a Taliban Ghost...

        December 8, 2010 at 7:12 am | Report abuse |
  9. Dan in Lafayette, IN

    Yes Dindy, and we all should not want and know that God will take care of us, But now there is a need, a need to stop the people who WANT to control the world and these Islamic extremists truly believe they will!!!

    December 7, 2010 at 5:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Dindy.....

      DAN ...to do that ..we need the true moral support of whole nation . They must consider more about our men and women out there with NATO. Republicans too should join hand in hand in moment like this despite of their differences . Mr Obama is doing his best Troops have done excellent because for nine years they secure their country from further threats. Thank God for them and the presidents. Citizens must be more alert like they have done recently. We must praise lord for all the good things and raise Gods name on the throne of praises !! God will do the rest !!
      Isn't it nice to know many pilgrims go to Jerusalem these days. Afghan cricket team came for finals with Bangladesh. There is a woman health minister.in Afghan. we will pray so rest of the people also will see .the light. True nature of God.

      December 7, 2010 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dindy.....

    when I read Psalm 23 I believe each word of it . Because it is the true nature of God who saved me during heavy shooting after two Rocket launches hit two buildings with 900kg bomb which had stored in a sand lorry that they drove in to the central Bank here and 1172 (nearly) died at once and 900 hundred more got injured on 1993 January 30th. I ran through the Bullets and smoke as I ran out from the rubble of the building where I was in and jumped to the sea shore to escape from fire and more shooting. I dont know how I jumped to the sea show from a high wall. God saved me !!!!

    December 6, 2010 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Dindy.....

    Dan Lafayette in...........Sir..listen to the indwelling spirit and work according to it. Peaceful and we are out of danger. It is the voice from whole universe. Doors opening to truth. Jesus was in fine balance because Jesus communicated with GOD..beyond everything as you know. Jesus called him Father. Our God ..perfect , loving and compassionate to the people who seek him. The whole truth. When meditate on God we can reach to other realms and see God "s rest of the creation other than the earth. We have to listen to his voice. Almighty is able doing anything especially to children who seek him day and night.

    December 6, 2010 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      Jesus has nothing to do with anything that has happen!!! This is what happens when two different kind of People that wants to change the other side... If People would respect each other beliefs We be a lot better off!!!

      December 10, 2010 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dindy.....

    Larrykegel(USArmy) I agree . They should stop using our names.

    December 6, 2010 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. LarryKegel(US Army)

    They be better off if they changed to Buddha!!! It is a lot better way than Hindu is... It is a Asian way anyhow!!!

    December 6, 2010 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      Dan From Lafayefette,In: I will never believe in Jesus!!! Because I believe there is only one GOD!!! The Jews believe in that GOD...

      December 6, 2010 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan in Lafayette, IN

      Well I hope your one of the 144,000 from the twelve tribes that will be caught up with all of us who have been saved because of our faith in Jesus Christ, the Messiah that the Jews have been waiting for. In His second coming you shall know!

      December 6, 2010 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dindy.....

    All other countries who are able must help Afghanistan and the people there. I am Dindy.

    December 6, 2010 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      It is always worth fighting for People to live in a Free World!!!

      December 6, 2010 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
      • jasonlee99

        WHAT FREE WORLD ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT??? YOU DON'T LIVE IN A FREE WORLD. YOU ARE WORKDING DAYS IN DAYS IN DAYS OUT TO PAY OFF YOUR MORTGAGE, AND TO PAY FOR YOUR EDUCATION ON A SLAVISH SALARY. AND WHAT THE HELL DO YOU HAVE AGAISNT COMMUNISM AND SOCIALISM – THE BEST SYSTEMS IN THE WORLD. GET THE HELL OUT OF THE SOVIET UNION. PRETTY SOON WE ARE GONNA RUN YOU OVER AND TAKE ALASKA FROM YOU, AS WELL AS MAKE THAT LITTLE yankeeland INTO OUR COLONY............... GET READY FOR A SOVIET INVASION.................PIGS

        December 14, 2010 at 5:30 am | Report abuse |
    • George Patton

      The Russians tried it and failed tragically enough,Dindy. What Afghanistan needs is a Communist Revolution.

      December 6, 2010 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
      • Bledsoe

        Constipation!

        December 7, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
      • George Patton

        How dare you poke fun at me!!! Have some respect Phunnie boy,will you? Isn't anything sacred to you for crying out loud???

        December 8, 2010 at 6:54 am | Report abuse |
      • Dan in Lafayette, IN

        You ought to know by now George that nothing is sacred to these fairies! Besides he's not the true Bledsoe but we call him Pfunnie boy although he's nothing of the kind!!!

        December 12, 2010 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
      • jasonlee99

        YEAH, YEAH, YEAH WE'VE BEEN THERE FOR SOME 9 YEARS AND THE AFGHAN DEATHTOLL WAS 1 MLN MUjaheeden. WE LOST ONLY 7k OF OUR SOLDIERS. YOU'VE BEEN IN VIETNAM AND KOREA (ANOTHER DISGRACE FOR THAT little ameri) AND YOU LOST 60k OF LITTLE ameris (in VIETNAM) AND (1OK (IN KOREA), WHITE THE VIETNAMENSE DEATHTOLL WAS 6MLN AND 2MLN IN KOREA, RESPECTIVELY. YOU HAVE ALREADY KILLED 1 MLN PEOPLE IN IRAQ AND AFGHAN (WHERE YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN IN THE FIRST PLACE) WHILE THE yankees' DEATHTOLL IS ABOUT 15 THOUSAND FOR BOTH IRAQ AND AFGHAN. WHAT A MISERY!!! WHAT A STUPIDITY. AND STILL YOU ARE MISERABLE LOSING BOTH WARS!!! THE TALIBS GO AHEAD KILL ALL OF THESE YANKEES!!!

        December 14, 2010 at 5:18 am | Report abuse |
      • jasonlee99

        THE RUSSIANS (THE BEST IN THE WORLD) ACTUALLY WON IN AFGHAN.. WE ALSWAYS WIN IN WARS, NEVER LOSE.

        December 14, 2010 at 5:32 am | Report abuse |
      • Bledsoe

        Fake-Daniel-2!

        December 14, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  15. afghan boy

    THATS DA CITY I GREW UP AND MAN ITS LIKE HELL

    December 6, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan in Lafayette, IN

      And it's going to stay that way until the NATO forces leave!!! The sooner,the better!

      December 6, 2010 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
      • LarryKegel(US Army)

        Sure You know more than the People running the Country right??? If You are so sure of Yourself... Run for President and put Your money where Your Mouth is!!! It is easy to say what should be done if You can't lose if Your wrong...

        December 6, 2010 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  16. TruthSeeker

    The mayor is brave indeed. And he works hard for his city. THE CORRUPT are obstacles in his goal to re-build the city and no one wants to believe that. Mr.Hamidi has gone back to Afghanistan to work and help his war-torn city, unfortunately, he has been labeled as money-hungry...thats what the other CORRUPT officials do to those who actually go with a good heart and cause. Lets do our research and learn about people before we label...For the so-called educated bunch here on the west coast, you should know better than point fingers! And just to clarify (Dindy Sri Lanka) officials in Afghanistan are not paid by our tax money...our tax money is sneaked into the pockets of Warlords and other corrupt millionaires, the very people Mr.Hamidi has been battling.

    December 6, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan in Lafayette, IN

      Like I said your day is coming so shut your mouth before you lay asleep until judgment day and you will forever be gnashing your teeth!

      December 6, 2010 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      You know the way You talk doesn't make any sense to everyone!!! If You want to be taken serious... Start talking like You do when Your talking Religion!!! Just a suggestion My Friend...

      December 6, 2010 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Dan in Lafayette, IN

    your day will surely come, then you will be gnashing your teeth!

    December 6, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan in Lafayette, IN

      I do not pray that people go to hell and burn in eternity. I pray they find Jesus within their hearts and follow His love for all people! I do not believe in the hatred for any group of people except those who kill others because of their beliefs but then again if they should repent and ask for forgiveness we should forgive.

      December 6, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Dindy.....

    Mayor is a brave man to take such risk and still try to move on.

    December 6, 2010 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • dindy Sri lanka

      He'd better be since we're paying him exorbitant wages to be that way!

      December 6, 2010 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
      • Bledsoe

        Faker!

        December 6, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
      • dindy Sri lanka

        You're the Faker here. At least I post under my own name which is more than you do and I don't do it for self amusement!!!

        December 6, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dindy.....

        write under your own ID. haven't you got a name for your self? can't you make your own name?

        December 6, 2010 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dindy.....

        DECEMBER 6TH 4.28PM AND 1.10PM POSTS ARE NOT MINE. THERE IS SOME ONE WHO CANT MAKE A NAME FOR HIMSELF.

        December 6, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dindy.....

        December 6th 1.10pm not my post.

        December 6, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bledsoe

      Fakir!

      December 6, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jesse Cook

      Hardy,har,har,har..

      December 6, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dindy.....

      Mayor Ghulam does not look hungry or like a beggar for dollars. He looks healthy and determined to help his own nation. This is the time Taliban too should unite and help building their country .God likes the people who serve others. He is doing it. He wants to work .God is unhappy when people kill and destroy .

      December 6, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      Dindy: Who ever it is does it to all of us!!! I wish there was a Way CNN could put a stop to it... It isn't fair to those of Us that uses Our real names!!!

      December 6, 2010 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bledsoe

      I feel the same way you do,Larry. As one can plainly see,this bozo does it to me all the time and as much as I complain to CNN,he is still at it. Moreover,I want everyone to know that I'm not the creep who called Sanity a Communist. That was my impostor!!!

      December 6, 2010 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bledsoe

      Falsies!

      December 7, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  19. BUBBA--ALABAMA STYLE!!!

    I guess that if one gets paid enough,they can brave the task. In other words,some people will brave almost anything to get rich proving that money's a great motivator.

    December 6, 2010 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Bledsoe

      Fake!

      December 6, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
      • LarryKegel(US Army)

        How do you know???

        December 11, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
      • Bledsoe

        Daniel-2=ISI...

        December 16, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      They would even steal from the Government, Poor and Workers to do it!!!

      December 6, 2010 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      how can You lose when You do what is best for You and Your Stockholders and care less about the American workers and the Country??? The United States is the only losers!!!

      December 11, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
      • LarryKegel(US Army)

        Where do you get off calling me a Communist,you Swine?!?!?!

        December 11, 2010 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dan in Lafayette, IN

        No Larry,he's not a swine but a fairy. These fairies always think that they're funny which they're not,but you can't tell them that!!!

        December 12, 2010 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
    • jasonlee99

      THAT JUST SHOWS HOW CORRUPT AND STUPID THAT little grin....land IS. THEY (STUPID JANKEES) ARE READY TO KILL FOR MONEY, OR EVEN BE KILLED. THE TALIBS GO AHEAD KEEP ON FIGHTING THESE little FILTH AND DIRT THAT WE CALL anglo-saxon ameris. KILL ALL OF THEM!!!!!!!!!!!! DEATH TO THIS GR...ngoland... OR NIG....GERLAND.

      December 14, 2010 at 5:03 am | Report abuse |
      • Dan in Lafayette, IN

        Well said,jasonlee99. Thank you.

        December 14, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
      • Bledsoe

        ISI.!

        December 14, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |