April 27th, 2010
07:43 AM ET

In Kandahar, some still see Taliban as lesser of evils

In Kandahar, where large-scale NATO military operations are expected this summer, some residents say the Taliban is their only option – the Afghan government and justice system are so corrupt they have nowhere else to turn to resolve complaints and get services. Even as they realize living under the thumb of the Taliban is miserable, some Kandahar residents say they would rather live under that than the misery of another military operation. And after previous experiences, they don't expect U.S. forces to stay the course.

Read some of the voices in Kandahar:

Hajji Abdul Ghaffar
Hajji Abdul Ghaffar is a 55-year-old businessman from Kandahar.

"When the Taliban are in our area, it is not easy to live under their conditions. People must know they are not helping us, instead they are disturbing us, it is not something good that we like," says Ghaffar. "They call on us to go to the mosque, and they tell us, don't travel on a certain road, because they have put IEDs there, and then claim 'We declared it to you; if you go you will be responsible for your own death.'"

"We are suffering under the Taliban more than we suffer under the government and the U.S. coalition," Ghaffar adds.

"Local people just want to live their lives in peace," he said referring to an old Pashtun saying when talking about the upcoming NATO operations in Kandahar, "When two bulls fight, they just destroy the small stones and grass."

"The Americans will be coming and looking for Taliban in our homes, They may kill us and later they will say, sorry for what they have done," Ghaffar said.

Ghulam Hazrat
Ghulam Hazrat is in his 30s and is a motorbike driver from Panjwai.

"We would like to have good roads and we love that our kids will get education," he says. "The Taliban are not giving us a chance to have that, and we are weak against Taliban."

Hazrat says he lives in an area where Taliban plant IEDs and burn schools. It's something that local people don't want but it's out of their control and they feel powerless, he says.

"But it is better to live under one government than two," Hazrat says about the struggle between the Afghan government and Taliban shadow governments.

Today, the serious problem in Kandahar is the gap between local people and the Afghan government, he says. "The people have no trust in the government nor the U.S. and coalition forces. It is very difficult for the local people to contact government officials, and they are hesitant to. When they see Taliban activities in the area, they don't know if they should report it to the government or not. And usually they don't feel comfortable enough to report it.

Jamal Shah, Afghan analyst
"In this kind of condition, if you don't have the support from the public it will be difficult to have a successful military operation in Kandahar," says Jamal Shah.

"First of all, it will be better to bring in a transparent and non-corrupt administration who will achieve the trust of the local people, and then you can start talking about an operation," Shah says.

People also remember past operations, in which they saw no positive result.

"Now people are not optimistic for a future operation," Shah said.

In the past they had military operations in Panjwai and Zari districts, but that did not change the lives of ordinary people – in fact it brought Taliban back to the area, when the coalition forces moved out – and they were more extreme and angry, he says.

The big thing that most people are talking about is the incapable administration that is the cause of distrust toward the government, Shah says. They do believe there is need of clearing up the area from the Taliban, but for some people it is dilemma because of what may happen after.

"The coalition will leave the area again, and they will install a weak Afghan police force there, leaving the people to suffer again," Shah says.

Shah says residents talk about how easy it was for the Americans to remove the Taliban regime in 2001, and why can't they fix the insurgency problem now? How did it start back up?

"People are starting to look at the American policy with doubt. They don't believe the Americans are here to bring peace to people. The doubt will increase more if they have an operation without a good positive result."

Abdul Halim, ex-Mujahideen commander
"Some people think that there is a lack of understanding from the Americans and the local government in Kandahar," says Abdul Halim, who once fought against the Soviets.

"The Taliban of today are not the Taliban from Pakistan or Chechnya. They are the Taliban from our areas, from our villages. It is very hard for a police chief to distinguish who is a Talib, who are the sympathizers and who are not part of the Taliban," Halim says.

"We seriously need an operation but it must involve the people who know this area best and who know most of the Taliban," he adds.

Zarghoona Kakar, member of the Provincial Council
Zarghoona Kakar, a female member of Kandahar's Provincial Council, fled from Kandahar to Kabul because she believed Kandahar was not secure and stable.

"The situation in Kandahar is worse and the lives of the people are in danger," she says, "Businesses are suffering and it is worse than it was last year."

She says that everyone knows the hateful actions of the Taliban but change needs to be made.

"The government must keep their promises they made to the people," Kakar says.

"Why isn't the government winning the hearts and minds of people? We need the support of local people, we don't need an operation," she says.

Photo at top: Kandahar residents inspect the site of a suicide car bombing earlier this month.

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Filed under: Kandahar • Life and Culture • NATO • Taliban • Voices
soundoff (100 Responses)
  1. Iraq Paramedic

    Genesis chapter 16-18, the truth of Ishmael & Isacc who are 1/2 brothers & Abraham is their father just different mothers. Ishmael is 13 years older than Isacc. GOD blessed each of them but in different ways. Chapter 16 verses 8-12 tell of Ishmeal's blessing & Chapter 17 verses 19-21 tell of Isacc's blessing. Isacc is the founder of Judeo Christianity & Jewish faith. Ishmael is the founder of true Islam, the Q'uran of today has been changed 4 times since Mohammad's death. I have read some of these comments & you can tell who reads & who just watchs TV & listens to gossip. GOD, Jehova, Allah are all the same, the Alpha & Omega, the great I AM. Remember what Ezekiel & John were shown, it is close at hand & GOD said it will start in the east & culminate in the great battle in the valley of Meggido where blood will run as deep as a horses breast plate.
    May GOD Bless & keep us all !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 28, 2010 at 4:46 am | Report abuse |
  2. Greg

    Hey mo, you are stupid. Your "fake made up god" is the same as theirs. They pray to the same "Sugar Plum Fairy in the Sky", just like you do; they just call it "Allah". You probably also believe that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are real. The suffering on planet earth is due to ignorant people like you and the true terrorists in Afghanistan who both pray to the same mythological "God", and worse, love to kill in this diety's name. Please "nuke" yourself first.

    April 28, 2010 at 4:33 am | Report abuse |
    • martin gugino

      Ah, I didn't take the time to see that you had responded. My bad.

      May 23, 2010 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. hey mo

    Any country that believes in a god of mohamed or allah, will always be a 3rd world country. These countries have not progressed since the dawn of time, and it's because they believe in a fake made up god. They don't have Christ and that's the reason for all the suffering. They live like animals and will continue to do so. So lets just nuke the middle east and the filth will be gone. I also say Merry Christmas and my children pray in school. What ya gonna do about that?

    April 28, 2010 at 3:01 am | Report abuse |
    • martin gugino

      [They live like animals and will continue to do so] Spoken like a true follower.

      May 23, 2010 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Greg

    To all of the citizens of Kandahar: if you are able to leave the city before the operation begins, then you will be much safer people. I was in the U.S. Army for 6 years myself, and the Washington State Army National Guard for 3 years, and I know that the "friendly forces" are not specifically targeting civilians, but if you simply "look" like a terrorist, your life could be in danger, so if it is possible for you to leave for a while, then you should do so. Many of the U.S. and International forces are 18 year old "kids"; like I was when I joined the Army; who are armed very well, and although they will make "pretty sure" you are a "terrorist" before they pull the trigger, it would be better to be on the safe side to not even be present when the "friendly forces" arrive, if at all possible. Also, if they make a "mistake", they probably will not be held accountable. I myself get tired of reading about all of the law-abiding-citizens like myself who get caught in the crossfire and then someone in a high political position ends up saying the word "Sorry" to their family and trying to explain to them the definition of "collateral damage".

    April 28, 2010 at 3:00 am | Report abuse |
  5. hey mo

    Democrats / republicans, whats the difference. Has anyone of these fools ever been able to fix our problems? NO! becaue thier to busy telling each other how much better they are. Its like little kids saying thier dad is bigger than your dad. Shut up and get to work. ONe Government not two fighting each other and saying that your on my turf like a siss street gang.

    April 28, 2010 at 2:53 am | Report abuse |
  6. Pat

    well thanks greg v that wasnt helpful at all

    April 28, 2010 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
  7. S V

    The U.S. military still has a lot to learn about counter-insurgency. Why?

    There are many reasons why our nation, and our military has not learned the lessons. Here just a few...

    -We are on a time schedule
    -Our solution is to throw money at the problem
    -Our military leaders read Ghallula and Kilcullen and blindly follow them, Americans who only think like Americans
    -Current authors like Kilcullen and Nogell simply read what others have done and said, paraphrase and then develop weak, sometimes illogical theories- they further fail to develop new ideas
    -These same authors make dangerous generalizations... They may have to a limited extent studied an insurgency in one corner of the world, and then make weak, often incompatible assumptions about all insurgencies
    -These same "American" authors clearly do not understand what a protracted war means
    -An insurgency is not jus fought at the front lines in some imaginary line of our choosing

    April 27, 2010 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Spc. Butta

    Get us out of that damned desert for gods sake.

    April 27, 2010 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. san

    These people will not appreciate freedom cause they never actually did much to earn it...it should always come within...much schooling is needed.
    I want to live a day in this world where we all smiling at each other 🙂

    April 27, 2010 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • martin gugino

      You say [These people will not appreciate freedom cause they never actually did much to earn it]
      I suspect that you had your freedom handed to you on a platter.

      May 23, 2010 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Buddy

    This would not have deteriorated so badly had not the W Bush administration decided to send the country's military resources on a snipe hunt based on cooked intelligence. There's a new team captain now and he appears to be more focused on the real war against Al Qaeda than serving the economic wants of a certain industry. The USA must not abandon Afghanistan, otherwise Al Qaeda will return and have a sanctuary to train and organize more attacks and those attacks will not be exclusively aimed at the USA either many European countries actually have more to fear than the USA. At the beginning of this war Al Qaeda had jet fighter bombers, tanks and a mountainous country the size of Texas, plus financial assistance from Saudi royals and assistance from Pakistan's intelligence agency. Now much of that has been taken away or forced farther underground. The war will not be short nor will it be easy, especially considering the willful ineptness the previous presidential administration nonetheless the war will be necessary if not for "freedom" but for safety. Usama has learned America isn't the paper tiger he thought it was.

    April 27, 2010 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
  11. hammad

    BY THE WAY TALIBAN MEANS "STUDENTS" :::::::P

    April 27, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  12. hammad

    its just a drop in bucket but heres my 2 cents and feel free to keep change .. my question to everyone reading this .. DO YOU KNOW THE LITERAL MEANING OF TALIBAN ?????? .. good i thought so ..
    now to the main issue here. WHY IS AMERICA in afghanistan and when will they leave ? history shows that no nation captures another nations land and then just leave .. america is there to stay .. not for taliban but because they have military interest in the region .. they watch over china, russia and only muslim atomic power in the world Pakistan .. mark my words this taliban – military game will go on as long as americans can drag it .. it was never upto bush or obama .. military is stronger and in more control in decision than EVEN PRESIDENT .. history shows that all rulers HAD TO BE in good terms with military in order to maintain rule..

    April 27, 2010 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. free men

    the only good thing about taliban culture is that women are subserviant to men.
    In america it is the opposite. women enslave men through divorce law and child support law.

    They are correct in not letting women vote.
    In america women have a 51% to 49% advantage over men when it comes to voting (because they live longer).
    therefore men will always have to suffer under laws that cater to women.
    men are the oppressed minority.

    everything about the taliban is wrong except their idea that women should not vote.
    this is correct.

    For men to be free in society women should not be allowed to vote or their vote should
    be worth 9/10th's of a man's vote to make up for the unfair advantage women have.

    remember, throughout human history the majority have always screwed over the minority in every situation where they have been allowed to.

    April 27, 2010 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. yankee slayer

    You, Afgan people should kill as many yankees as possible.

    April 27, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Steve

    Not much will change until the people rise up and fight back against the Taliban. The people will not fight back until they are confident enough that...

    1) NATO is unanimously winning the war.
    2) The Taliban's will to fight is diminished.
    3) Most importantly, the Afghan government actually proves to be a reliable force (this is a long shot from happening).

    To accomplish numbers 1 and 2, the best way (that I can think of) is to get at the mid/upper level commanders of the Taliban. These are the ideologues who are way too far gone to "persuade" them to agree to a peace deal. This is a war of special forces. I think the military (finally) is beginning to get the hint that special forces are the key (I've read some articles recently about the U.S. sending more special forces to Afghanistan). These special force teams need to be given every tool in the world to help track, capture or kill Taliban commanders. If we're serious about winning this war, then we should be serious about sending THOUSANDS of drones, as well. There is no reason why we can't accomplish this. If you cut the head off the snake, the low-level fighters will eventually give up. If we could defeat the Nazi's AND the Imperial Japanese AT THE SAME TIME in World War II... then we can accomplish this.

    The harder part involves the Afghan government. Everything would help if the Afghan government proved to be at least somewhat reliable... but that clearly hasn't been the case thus far. The people, the Taliban, NATO, and everyone else knows this. Until they shape up, the war will go on.

    April 27, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • martin gugino

      you say [If we could defeat the Nazis].
      The German invasion of Russia, operation Barbarossa, had already failed before the US entered the war. Eisenhower landed in North Africa in November of 1942, leaving the Russians to fight the Nazis unassisted, until the invasion of Italy in September of 1943. Meanwhile the epic battle between the Russians and the Nazis over Leningrad had been going on for nine months with three more to go.

      May 23, 2010 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  16. lisa

    its time for the US to show theyre good people and gain the trust and word of the afghan people before they leave. simply teaching and getting them to understand better will make things a whole lot better. like one said win the hearts and minds of the people. what they are saying is what truly they want in their minds. we need to show them we are GOOD and win their trust. teach them they can run an economy with currency, jobs, education and food and allies.

    April 27, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  17. A. P.

    Pastor Michael, the simple fact is that most of us are trying to make the situation too complex, not vice versa. Yes, there are mitigating factors in every situation, but the basic facts are simple. No one is suggesting that the "end product" as you refer to it will be ideal, just better than the current situation. Will Afghanistan ever be equal to America as far as economy, infrastructure, etc.? No. Will building better roads, schools, and a stronger government improve their lives? Absolutely. Do the majority of Afghans want these things? Again, absolutely.

    And the people of Afghanistan are, by and large, cooperating to achieve these things. Those who don't usually are influenced by simple fear, but still want that "end product." However, there comes a point when you have to take responsibility for your own society. America has spent countless dollars, committed countless troops (many of which were lost), and dedicated our resources for years in an effort to better this country. In general, the Afghanis have not matched this commitment. They don't have the same level of money or troops to commit that we do but they can still show the same desire to help.

    And yes, until we learn to come up with a different response we will remain in this endless cycle. The only thing we accomplish with war is finding better ways to kill each other. But there has always been war, and always will be. It isn't pessimism, it is realism. There will always be those who want to take advantage of the weaker and less fortunate, and at times the only way to stop these people will be the threat or use of arms. Unfortunate, but it is the nature of the beast. Too many people say "war is always wrong" but the truth is that without war the world would be a much worse place than it is now.

    April 27, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • martin gugino

      AP you say [America has spent countless dollars] delusional.
      Water? Electricity? Hospitals? Even jobs rebuilding the country? No. Nothing.

      May 23, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  18. A. P.

    Tyler520, while I won't go so far as to call anyone an "anti-war leftist" or "terrorist sympathiser" I do agree with you in general. We have probably all heard the saying "the only thing needed for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing" and that seems to be what a lot of people are advocating. Many people refer to America as a bully and infer that we often stick our nose where it doesn't belong but the simple fact is that the ability to help should automatically constitute a requirement to help. In other words, in you can help, you must help. You hear a lot of people complain about how "the world is going to hell" but these are the same people that are against helping however and whenever we can.

    Simple relative scenario: You are the biggest kid on the playground. You notice a smaller kid ruthlessly beating up the smaller children. Do you help, knowing you have the ability to stop it? Or do you stand by and watch?

    April 27, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • martin gugino

      In your view, the USA plays the role of Superman, saving the weak, and re-establishing justice, on the playground of the world. Many would find this view to be anti-historical. How to explain the overthrow of Arbenz in Guatemala in the United Fruit Company case by the Dulles brothers, or the assassination of president Salvador Allende, neither of which are secrets or untypical.

      May 22, 2010 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Tom

    "Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery ...

    April 27, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  20. tyler520

    anti war leftists of today are akin to the Nazi sympathisers of yesterday

    April 27, 2010 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  21. jeff

    the afghan people in the local towns need to work with the usa and tell them where the ieds are and who are taliban and who is not..i know they cant really do much with the presence of the taliban ..but they can let the usa know that they are willing to help in someway..they know who the taliban are in there tiny little villages and they should contact someone in the government there so they can wipe out them cowards..the usa helps everyone that wants the help..and they have to relize if it wasnt for 9/11 we wouldnt be over there in the first place..we want all people to live free and have all the goods things in life .good schools and proper education for there kids ..better homes and lotsa food..we can only do so much ..and if they dont like they way there living now ..then they have nothing to lose anyway so why not stand up for there country and start pointing out the taliban and there cowardly ied's..they are idiots the taliban they kill them selves and alot of innocent people..kinda of a dumb strategy if ya ask me..we love all the afghan people and were here to help but they have to do there part too..

    April 27, 2010 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • martin gugino

      This point of view assumes that the interests of the people of Kandahar and the interests of the Armed Forces are identical. Since this is clearly not so (viz: 1.collateral damage, or 2.having children in the area), "doing one's part" is not the same as playing the "part" written for you by the occupying forces, or by commentors from across the sea.

      May 22, 2010 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • martin gugino

      Jeff, you say [the afghan people in the local towns need to work]
      This much I agree with.

      May 23, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  22. A. P.

    Daniel 2, I would suggest you visit some of the people in Afghanistan before making generalizations. The large part of the country looks at the occupying forces as a very good thing. A lot of the people there are very thankful that America and NATO are doing what they can to help. I spent a year there and had countless people thank me for the work we were doing. What impressed me most was the time I spent in Kabul when we would have women come up and thank us simply because they were allowed to wear jeans and a t-shirt. They have children who get no education, horrible infrastructure, and even villages that are so cut-off that they didn't even know that Americans were in the country two years after we arrived.

    The simple truth is that the quality of life for a lot of Afghanis is slowly but steadily improving, and most of them are thankful for it. Sure, there will always be some who don't want us there but it is by no means "all of them." And as a side note, the American and NATO forces in Afghanistan are by no means "foreign rule." There is a huge difference. We are not trying to run their country, nor are we trying to take it over.

    April 27, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Daniel-2

    The truth is that the Afghans don't and never did want foreign rule,but the right-wing thugs in Washington will never tell us that.Instead they keep on with their bla-bla-bla about how they want NATO troops to "liberate" them.And the right-wing news media says the same thing.

    April 27, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  24. A. P.

    That is true Rob, but a lot of the reasoning behind that is not that they are Muslims. It is that they are (like a large part of the world) anti-America. And you have a good point about the puppet governments accomplishing nothing. That seems to be a historical trend. The vast majority of the population of any country is not going to support a government that they do not elect or want. If the government of another country were to remove our president and replace him with one of their choosing then most Americans would not support him either, regardless of his ideals or plans. To set up a strong and successful government it is imperative to allow the Afghani people to elect their own representatives, and do so in a fair and impartial election, which obviously has not happened.

    April 27, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Rob

    Here is the difference between Iraq and Afghanistan.... The Iraqui's decided that they'd had enough of Al Quaida and decided to boot them out & cooperate with the US. They had the structure, weapons and the will to do it, even though the government in Iraq isn't perfect. In Afghanistan, the people do not have the means or will to boot out the Taliban and everyone knows the US will not stay forever. For things to improve, Afghanistan needs a stable, non corrupt government that's capable of protecting the people. The various puppet governments over the years have been weak and useless, so I don't see that happening.

    April 27, 2010 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • martin gugino

      There was no Al Qaeda in Iraq before the war.

      May 23, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  26. A. P.

    Amen Pastor Michael. What I think a lot of people on here do not realize (and was a great point from Abdul-Latif) is that there is a vast difference between Muslims and the extremists that have given Islam such a bad name. Thanks to them most Americans walk down the street and see a Muslim and immediately think terrorist, when the truth is that most Muslims (and by most I mean 99.9%) are good people who have no desire for war, terror, violence, etc. They want the same things from life that Christians do, happiness, peace, and health.

    It amazes me how many people use the example of a few nutjobs to generalize a whole group of people. So since the terrorists who flew the planes into the WTC were "Muslims" then all Muslims must be terrorists? Great logic! So since Timothy McVeigh was a white American then obviously all white Americans must be domestic terrorists, right? Get real! It's called stereotyping, and last time I checked every educated person in the world realized how ignorant it was...

    Some folks need to wake up and realize the truth. FYI, we have Muslims fighting and dying alongside Christians in OUR OWN MILITARY! They go to school with your children, work with you and your friends, and you probably know quite a few of them and just aren't aware of it. People love to drag them down but if you have ever known a true Muslim and witnessed the dedication and fervor they put into their religion you would probably have a much higher opinion of them than you do some of the folks who purport to be Christians! The first amendment provides for freedom of religion and freedom from oppression. So when did the average American decide to become a Nazi instead?

    April 27, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Mathew

    Does anyone else just have a constant feeling of....uh, *sigh*...when they hear about the Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, etc...the middle east in general? STOP FIGHTING! Give them education, not more guns. If they choose to fight each other, so be it...if they put down their weapons...great! The middle east has been fighting each other in every which direction for decades. They are their own county for a reason, let them run their country. If they want advice/education, great, we can provide that.
    It's time to stop losing precious lives for a battle that cannot be won by outside forces. The US and company have enough problems in their own countries that need to be fixed. ENOUGH! LEAVE!

    April 27, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  28. FPapiSalOC

    I agree with RichP. Here is a quote from the movie "Full Metal Jacket" YPvt. Eightball: I guess they'd rather be alive than free. Poor dumb bastards.

    April 27, 2010 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  29. jkantor267

    Of course he doesn't care how his wife and daughter might see it. Wonder why.

    April 27, 2010 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  30. Bullish

    The only thing most people reading this can do is hope that the next attack does not happen in their neighborhood. I assure you it is coming (just ask the Pentagon). Foreign fighters from all over the world are going to the middle east to do one thing. Kill Marines. When there are no more Marines there where will they go? Your town..?

    "The Americans embrace life, we embrace death." – Osama bin Laden

    April 27, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • martin gugino

      You say [The only thing most people reading this can do is hope that the next attack does not happen in their neighborhood.] This statement may be true for the people reading this blog from Kandahar. Other than that, I disagree in general.

      May 23, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  31. PK

    The Patriot: 9/11 was a tragedy. They got one in and we were shocked. But let's be realistic. Day to day, you have more to fear from muggers and drug addicts than suicide bombers. We were on an isolationist path in WWII. It didn't stop the Japanese from bombing Pearl Harbor. It didn't stop the Uboats from prowling our coast line. The fight is the fight, here, there, the moon, wherever humans are. The idea of this fighting is to get a critical mass of stability where it can be self sustaining. Japan and Germany are the models. The idea is that the people themselves have no beef with us and just want to live and be happy. The goal is to get to a certain level of stability to make that happen. However, the Afghans have to have some skin in the game. They are part of this tag team match but refuse to participate when they are tagged. Hearts and minds is one thing but I think it'll take more than that. If they don't take their duty to build a better Afghanistan seriously and continue to sit back and watch us go back and forth with the Taliban, then honestly, maybe they deserve to live in the stone age that the Taliban wants to impose on them.

    April 27, 2010 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  32. PK

    Abdal-Latif: If the Taliban support killing their own people needlessly, if they support blowing up civilians as a means to reaching their goals, then evil is the ONLY way they can be described.

    April 27, 2010 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  33. THE PATROIT

    Got a better idea? Everywhere we go they are against us being there, they cry for our help but when we arrive they dont want us there and even fly planes into our buildings. I say let them kill themselves and we take care of US!!!!

    April 27, 2010 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  34. PK

    The Patriot: Isolationism is a failed concept. And in this day and age of cruise missiles it's a downright dangerous concept. What we have today is the alternative to the knights fighting the marauders at the gates of the castle. What difference does *where* the fighting happens make? We're still fighting.

    April 27, 2010 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  35. Christopher Ruggiero

    If what happened in 2008 to our banking industry happened during WWII Hitler would be ruling Europe and if any American thinks that the policies of the former Administration or this current one or both houses of Congress over the last ten years is competent or wise your either a Democrat, Republican or getting fat off the backs of the American people who are busy trying to make art, work or raise their families and live a peaceful life. millions of people in the U.S. have been defrauded of their life's work and they are not getting any compensation.

    April 27, 2010 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  36. Dennis

    Maybe,Abdulameer it is then time to move our thoughts out of the 8th century and realize even though the Talib spread the word of Allah and Islam,these same individuals desecrate the religion and are not of Allah because of their violence ,mayhem and brutal rule by force. They are really spreading the will of the Devil upon the innocent Afghan populace.I believe most American (infidels in your statement) have a real compassion and care for the Afghani people and are willing to sacrifice their own lives to prove this point.The Taliban are in this game only for their selfish agenda and are oppressing the locals by force and genocide of their own and also by exporting opium around the world to corrupt it.Is this the true work of Allah and Islam ..If it is,then it is time to move this religion forward into this century or abandon it all together!

    April 27, 2010 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • martin gugino

      You also say [The Taliban ... are oppressing the locals by ... exporting opium around the world]
      The news accounts point to the Karzai administration as being the ones primarily running the drug trade. One can't help but suspect the assistance of the CIA in this, for whom drugs have often been a dependable source of revenue. South East Asia used to be the center of the drug trade. For a while it was Central America. Now it is Afghanistan. Coincidence? No.

      May 23, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  37. the_dude

    If they dont want to fight for their freedom like the rest of us have in the past then they dont deserve it. I dont see why we spill American blood over something they dont even want. Lets leave after we kill all the terrorists who threaten our freedom and safety on American soil. They cant work their own problems out. Or not. As long as they keep their issues in their own sandbox.

    April 27, 2010 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • martin gugino

      You say [If they don't want to fight for their freedom]
      You don't think they are fighting for freedom? What is the fight about then, in your opinion?

      May 23, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  38. ANTIETAM

    This land war in Afghan counts as yet another monumental blunder that ranks with previous Vietnams. Blame our own Civil War that gave birth to a military-industrial complex that first exterminated the Indian tribes and then set us on the road to world wide imperialism. The same officer corps that fought the Civil War invaded the Philippines in 1898 backed by the same weapons manufacturers that supplied the Union army. So be it.

    April 27, 2010 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  39. THE PATROIT

    Danny, did you miss something???? They train to kill AMERICANS DUH!!!! Why shoould we just sit back and wait for them to do it again?

    April 27, 2010 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
    • martin gugino

      You say [they train to kill Americans DUH].
      I don't believe that the Taliban have killed any US Americans outside of their native land, nor that they train to do so.

      May 23, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Christopher Ruggiero

    Well, We beat the Nazi's and all their allies in less time than it has taken to even find these Taliban goat herdsman. someone should read Dwight. D. Eisenhower's book "Crusade in Europe" it may give you an idea what exactly the u.S. military is doing over there or not doing.

    April 27, 2010 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
    • martin gugino

      Christopher, have you read "Crusade in Europe". Perhaps you could give one or two examples of the ideas that are in there, and how they apply, as a teaser?

      May 23, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Justin

    The only way this conflict could be resolved militarily would be if there were a troop surge on the scale of 500,000 – 1,000,000 (the more, the better) troops. There's no way a military victory can be achieved as it is now.

    April 27, 2010 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  42. Abdal-Latif

    In reply to "Abdulameer" (fake name): What you are essentially saying is that all Muslims are evil, that there is no hope for any of us simply because of our religion. That is exactly what the Nazis said about the Jews. Arguments like that are the prelude to genocide. The fact is that we Muslims are HUMAN BEINGS just like you, and Islam in general is NOT an evil religion. In fact, Islam is the best religion in the world. It is not the fault of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad if some Muslims, especially in recent years, have distorted the message of Islam for their own purposes. And before you start making your oh-so-learned pronouncements about the nature of sharia and illogical statements about the alleged difference between Taliban and other Afghans vis-a-vis sharia, you should learn more–a lot more–about what sharia actually IS, and the nature of its implementation throughout history. You may end up being surprised. But first you will have to expand your reading list beyond the professional Muslim-haters and neocons, and look at the original sources for yourself.

    April 27, 2010 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
    • martin gugino

      You say [What you are essentially saying is that all Muslims are evil]
      I don't think that he is saying that at all, so the rest of your post is based on an incorrect premise.
      That should make you happy, by the way.

      May 23, 2010 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  43. keon

    If we leave the taliban will grow stronger and 9/11 part 2 might happen. These extremist are not going to leave us alone if we leave catch 22 a pickle alright i really dont know what to do but i know leaving is not an option.

    April 27, 2010 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • martin gugino

      Let's fight them over here.

      May 22, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Ralph in Orange Park, FL

    Looks like the US military will have to destroy Kandahar in order to save it. Deja vu all over again.

    April 27, 2010 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • martin gugino

      When all you have is bullets, what else are you supposed to do?

      May 22, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Bob

    When will strong nations learn that war is an absolute LAST RESORT and should only be used as a defense of one's own country. You cannot force freedom or democracy or whatever upon people. They must want it enough to fight for it themselves.

    April 27, 2010 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  46. Scott

    Before the Taliban half the doctors in Afghanistan were women. Women worked as teachers, architects and politicians. In the late 80's reagan was sending 65,000 tons a year of ammunition to the Mujahadeen and the Taliban knowing full well who these people were, what they stand for, and what would happen to the Afghani women. Unfortunately, the women of Afghanistan know this, and now they hate the United States just as much as they hate the Taliban. (see RAWA's web page).

    Unfortunately we are now in a position where there are no good options. The Taliban is horrible for the people of Afghanistan and a risk to world peace, and a war is even more devasatating to the people of Afghanistan.

    Although... at least a war in Afghanistan has more point than our war in Iraq, where 1 million innocent people died, millions were injured and 2 million became foreign refugees all over WMD that didn't exist. Pre-war there was no Al Qaeda in Iraq, they were secular, Christians practiced openly, and Shia and Sunni lived and married side by side. George W. Bush's Iraqi Holocaust was the largest loss of life since WWII, a near complete destruction of a society, and should be as deep a source of shame to all Americans as Auschwitz is to Germans. Although, after WWII, the Germans were tried for war crimes and the Nazi party became illegal there. Although the entire world considers Bush a war criminal, he has not been tried and the Republican party is still a legal entity despite the mountain of dead babies and the havoc they have wreaked on our economy.

    I think in the future it is important for us to not support bad leaders and groups who do horrible things. We've made this mistake too many times and it always bites us in the butt. Propping up the Shah against he people of Iran lead to Ayatollah Khomeini. Rumsfeld visiting Saddam Hussein and sending him illegal WMD led to many dead Kurds. Overthrowing a democratically elected government in Iran, openly for the sake of oil, was a really bad idea too!!

    The hypocrisy comes in when we then go back and critisize the people we've helped. We use the fact that Saddam attacked the Kurds as excuse for this latest war despite having helped him do it. We get very mad at Indonesia for killing 200,000 in East Timor despite providing them military assistance and weapons to do it. We want to kill off the Taliban after putting them in charge. We demand that Palestine have a free and democratic vote, before doing anything to provide them peace or security and then get shocked when they elect Hamas.

    I think the solution to these problems is very clear. Elect Democrats!

    April 27, 2010 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  47. me and mr b, Whidbey Isle WA

    "Any people that would give up liberty for a little temporary safety deserves neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin

    April 27, 2010 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • martin gugino

      Is it possible to seek safety without giving up liberty?

      May 23, 2010 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Christopher Ruggiero

    Oh, As far as winning the minds and hearts of the people our government can't do that here in the U.S.

    April 27, 2010 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  49. Laz

    It's true, they are much better off. Imagine, if Afghanistan had a powerful military, and they invaded the USA, destroyed our government, and set up a Taliban here. We'd all be going NUTS. It wouldn't be anything we could deal with. I'm sure it's the same thing happening over there. We screwed up.

    April 27, 2010 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  50. Christopher Ruggiero

    I find it repugnant on the part of CNN that the only reporting and photo's show a miserable place where no "American" would live but just considering the lack of photo's, video or stories of the people of the both Iraq and Afghanistan after 10 years of being there clearly explains just another aspect of why we should not be there other than trying to establish two new Freemason Republic's which will never happen..

    April 27, 2010 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • martin gugino

      Not the clearest post. You want more pictures of Afghanistan, is that it? No real American would live in Afghanistan? Hard to read your mind on that one, what that means, or what follows from that. For example, would real Americans live in France? Possibly break your ideas up into sentences.

      May 23, 2010 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
  51. Cliff

    Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!
    Patrick Henry

    April 27, 2010 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
    • martin gugino

      Easy for him to say.

      May 22, 2010 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  52. Abdulameer

    "Shah says residents talk about how easy it was for the Americans to remove the Taliban regime in 2001, and why can't they fix the insurgency problem now? How did it start back up?"

    "The Taliban of today are not the Taliban from Pakistan or Chechnya. They are the Taliban from our areas, from our villages. It is very hard for a police chief to distinguish who is a Talib, who are the sympathizers and who are not part of the Taliban," Halim says."

    Nobody mentions it, and whoever writes these articles is obviously not aware of it, but always in the background here is Islam - the religion/ideology which dominates the thinking and behavior of the vast majority of Afghanis, whether Taliban or not Taliban. Of course it is hard for a police chief to distinguish who is a Talib. The only difference between a Talib and a non-Talib is the extent of Sharia law they want to put into practice. Both of them agree that Sharia law should be the law of the land. Both of them agree that the Koran and the sayings of Muhammad are sacred. That is why the Taliban are much closer to the rest of the population than the American infidels will ever be. We can build them all the schools, water pipes, roads in the world, but we can never win their hearts and minds because Allah in the Koran tells them that we are their enemies; and they believe that because they believe that the Koran is Allah's literal word. We need to draw the proper conclusions from this about our policy in Afghanistan before we waste still more brave American lives and treasure.

    April 27, 2010 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
    • martin gugino

      Abdulameer, you speak as though you are in Afghanistan. Are you? In Kandahar, possibly? If you have Google Wave, would you like to chat, or would you like an invitation to Google Wave?

      May 23, 2010 at 7:55 am | Report abuse |
  53. Robert

    Has anyone told Kandahar that Taliban rule is what has led to large scale military operations to begin with?

    April 27, 2010 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
    • martin gugino

      Robert, what are you referring to? It was the socialist government in Kabul that induced Jimmy Carter and Zbigniew Brzezinski to become interested in Afghanistan, and the Russians to react to America's interest, and Charlie Wilson to react to Russia's interest. Nobody much cared about the Taliban, except the Pakistan ISI, who created them, and some of the people of Kandahar, who thanked them for chasing away the highway robbers from the ring road. The highway robbers were our allies in the fight against the Russians, the Mujahideen, most likely Gul Agha Shirai. Here is some more: http://bit.ly/aGARka

      May 22, 2010 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  54. doktorij

    Came you blame them?

    How many decades of war would you like to live with? Completely random death and destruction is not living... It is chaos.

    April 27, 2010 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  55. vizi

    Well they have to live with realities , we are just sitting and watching it from 9000 miles . Definitely the view point will differ .

    Am sure if you ask any one in Kabul about Mexican Drug Mafia , they will say its silly issue and they can solve it in a day . Where as we know we have been fighting it for over three decades and we will continue to fight it for another century to come

    So it depends on how close you are effected by the problem , closeness improves vision of the situation.

    It can be taliban or any faction of afghan , they will have to live with the issue and solve themselves .

    April 27, 2010 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  56. RichM

    That is a foolish notion. Combat is temporary, but Taliban rule is forever without combat. If people can't put the community first in front of the fear of dying then the community will live in fear forevor.

    April 27, 2010 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  57. wllny

    internal problem, internal answer, in terms of government.

    April 27, 2010 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  58. Greg V

    In history the bible tells us of a people very similar to the people of Kandahar. The Israelites were in bondage in Egypt 400 or so years. They traveled in the wilderness 1 year and wanted to go back to Egypt because that was the easy way out. Even though the Lord promised them a promised land and prosperity in that land they continually lacked the courage and faith to remember the promise given. They lacked the courage and faith so much that their trial was extended for 40 years because the older generation of the Israelites would not be permitted to enter into the promised land. I would encourage the people of Kandahar and the people who are fighting the good fight to keep their faith and courage alive and trust in the Lord. Spiritual it may be, yet it is the solution. I predict that the generations to come in Kandahar will be stronger and more courageous than the current.

    April 27, 2010 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • martin gugino

      Greg V, you say [I would encourage the people of Kandahar and the people who are fighting the good fight to keep their faith], drawing a comparison between the people of Israel who foolishly longed to return to Eqypt, and the people of Kandahar who reportedly are joining the Taliban. You seem to equate trusting in God to trusting in Karzai, or trusting in the US Government. I hope you can understand if many do not find this comparison compelling.

      May 22, 2010 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  59. Cactus

    Good pull all US troops, NOW.

    April 27, 2010 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  60. RichP, Easton, Pa

    You cannot force people to be free, many are just not capable of fighting for their freedom and fighting to keep it, some people are just made to be sheep and be led around. It's not good or bad, it's just the way it is.

    April 27, 2010 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • martin gugino

      You say [You cannot force people to be free] which is of course true. Force and freedom are opposites. Then you said [some people are made to be sheep.] Did you mean "made by God to be sheep", echoing the images in the New Testament, of sheep and the Good Shepherd? And others are made to be goats, are they? And 'by some people cannot be made to fight" are you thinking of Christians, who are commanded to love their neighbor? I am not sure what impels you to drag up religion, especially predestination as a comment to an article on Kandahar. Possibly you are a religious fanatic?

      May 23, 2010 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
  61. Michael Wong

    How many of the people who say they miss the Taliban happen to be male?

    April 27, 2010 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • martin gugino

      comment failed to post

      May 23, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  62. couptaker

    The U.S. will blow their town to smitherreens then leave and the Taliban will come back and kill all those that help the U.S.

    April 27, 2010 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  63. 99% of America

    "Mission: Accomplished"

    April 27, 2010 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |