Kandahar residents live in fear of being targeted by Taliban

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Kandahar (Afghanistan), May 22 (ANI): Residents of are living in a state of fear and anxiety, not knowing what a dominant Taliban is going to inflict on them next.

According to the Washington Post, each new death in a city of hunters and hunted brings more dread.he Taliban is known to pursue calculated assassination. The tools that it uses are rudimentary, and include ropes, knives and old rifles.

The results, however, are almost always devastating. The message going out from the insurgents is clear - anyone who works or sympathizes with the government, will be executed.

"They're watching us. We don't know who, but they're watching, nowhere is safe. We cannot escape," the paper quoted one Ahmad, as saying.

The Taliban killings are taking aim at the fundamental goal of the U.S. military's planned summer offensive in Kandahar: to build a credible local government that responds to the needs of the people.

In the past month, about six people have quit the already understaffed provincial government, and other federal ministry representatives in the province have taken leave.

Targeted by bombs and killings of their local staff, foreigners working for U.S. government contractors and the United Nations have fled for Kabul.

The tactics in Kandahar differ from those in other major cities, such as Kabul, where attacks often involve high profile, multi-pronged assaults by gunmen and suicide bombers against government or commercial buildings.

The killers here rely on stealth and speed.

The spate of killings has reached the rate of one to two a week.

Targets are everywhere: government bureaucrats, policemen, aid workers, tribal elders.

In the first four months of the year, 27 government officials or Afghans working with foreign contractors in Kandahar city were assassinated, according to U.S. figures.

In the same period in 2009, there were 15 such killings; in 2008, there were six.

A warning occasionally precedes the attacks. Shots are fired as a warning

The motives behind assassinations in Kandahar are often complex.

Relatives weave complicated theories, not all of which involve the Taliban. Without an effective justice system, disputes over women or money can hurtle unchecked. Revenge is a daily reality.

Kandahar has about 2,000 policemen, but they are generally considered untrained and unprofessional.

To protect Afghan officials, U.S. and Canadian military contingents in Kandahar have provided armored cars, assigned foreign security details and launched ambitious plans to fortify government buildings. One idea is to build a bulletproof "ballistics walkway" between the offices of the mayor and governor. (ANI)

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