Afghans in Kandahar don't trust Americans, other foreign military forces
Kandahar (Afghanistan), Mar.27 (ANI): A tribal elder in Kandahar, Afghanistan, has said most Afghans fear the coming of more foreign troops, and don't trust them.
Shahabuddin Akhunzada said his Eshaqzai tribe has complained of repeated arrests and political exclusion.
The West's acceptance of Mr. Karzai's re-election despite widespread fraud was the last straw, he said.
"The Americans, the international community, all the military forces have lost the people's trust. We don't trust what they say anymore," the New York Times quoted him, as saying.
Akhunzada's views were aired as American forces have begun operations to push back Taliban insurgents in this southern province, the birthplace and spiritual home of the Taliban.
The Taliban have already turned the city into a battlefield as they prepare for the operation, which American officials hope will be decisive in breaking the insurgency's grip on southern Afghanistan.
When American forces all arrive, they will encounter challenges larger than any other in Afghanistan.
Taliban suicide bombings and assassinations have left this city virtually paralyzed by fear. The insurgents boldly walk the streets, visit shops and even press people into keeping guns and other supplies in their houses for them in preparation for urban warfare, residents say.
The government, corrupt and ineffective, lacks almost any popular support. Anyone connected to the government lives in fear of assassination.
Its few officials sit barricaded behind high blast walls. Services are scant. Security, people say, is at its worst since the fall of the Taliban government in 2001.
"The Taliban want to show themselves to the world, to show, 'We are here,' " claims Hajji Agha Lalai, a provincial councilor and former head of the peace and reconciliation commission in Kandahar, who has extensive contacts with the Taliban.
The intensifying Taliban campaign is a measure of the importance the insurgency places on Kandahar, where the bulk of the 30,000 additional American forces arriving this year are being deployed. That is a sign of its value to the Americans, too.
The scale of the coming American offensive is expected to dwarf the recent operation in Marja, in neighboring Helmand Province, where 15,000 American, NATO and Afghan forces were deployed to secure an area much smaller than this provincial capital of 500,000 people. (ANI)