Prisoner of Joy
October 22, 2008

Porak, Afghanistan – After a gang of bandits continuously terrorized the district of Porak last month, the villagers could not stand it any longer.

"We complained several times to the government and even showed them where the thieves lived," Ahmad, a local resident said.

But those bandits are still operating freely. So the resident of Porak began to turn to the Taliban to raise their complaints. In no time Taliban fighters showed up. They tried and convicted the gangsters and threatened harsher punishments should they be caught stealing again. The bandits have not showed up since then.

In the provinces around Kabul, the government are considered to be as almost non-existent or as having disappeared already, a local resident said. In this area the Taliban is more effective, the shadow government of Taliban have already spread and the local people are supporting them.

"So people turned to the Taliban," Abdel Qabir, who works with an international NGO, said.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

Days after the 9/11 attacks, the US invaded Afghanistan to topple the ruling Taliban regime. Despite the deployment of 64,000 foreign troops under US and NATO command, violence has soar over the past years. A high-profile US intelligence report has concluded earlier this month that Afghanistan is on a "downward spiral" due to rising violence and official corruption.

Parallel Governments

Taliban now has a strong presence in all seven of Logar’s districts, and they openly rule in four of them. In neighboring Ghazni province, Taliban is in full control of 13 of its 18 districts. In Wardak, which neighbors Kabul, it controls of six of the eight districts.

"The police are just for show," says one local. "The Taliban are the real power here."

A recent report by the Senlis Council think-tank said that Taliban, which ruled from 1996 to 2001, has now permanent presence in more than half of Afghanistan.

"This is a major problem for them [government]," says Habibullah Rafeh, a political analyst with the Afghanistan Academy of Sciences.

"Even though the Taliban can’t capture Kabul militarily because of the strength of the international forces there, the government can’t stop them from operating freely just outside of the city."

In areas under its control, Taliban has set governments complete with police chiefs and education and judicial committees.

"We prefer these courts to the government courts," says Fazel Wali, an NGO worker in Ghazni. He noted that Taliban courts have a reputation of working much faster than government ones, which are ridden with corruption.

"At least we have security and justice," contends Abdul Halim, a local in Ghazni province is a Taliban supporter.

"They may not provide jobs, but at least they share the same culture and brought security," agrees Qabir, the Logar resident.

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