The Taliban originally gained popularity as a force against crime and corruption (alongside their strict enforcement of Sharia, of course). Will the Afghan populace again look to a more openly hardline Islamic regime to restore a semblance of order at the expense of the few freedoms the mullahs haven’t yet revoked in the name of the Sharia constitution? The rising chaos in southern Afghanistan is certainly playing into the hands of the Taliban and like-minded warlords.
From the Christian Science Monitor: “Security slipping around Kandahar”
KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN – Last summer, Shahida Hussain was pounding the dusty streets of Kandahar campaigning for Parliament in defiance of Taliban threats. Now this outspoken woman rarely leaves her house for fear of getting caught up in the violence engulfing Afghanistan’s southern city.
Her family is no longer sending her granddaughter to school because they are afraid she will be attacked en route, if not by the Taliban then by criminals who are in league with an increasingly corrupt government that is profiting from the country’s rampant drug trade. “Corruption is the number one reason behind the rising violence,” says Hussain.
As violence in southern Afghanistan reaches its worst levels since 2001, a chorus of Afghan officials, security experts, and Coalition commanders share Hussain’s basic assessment. While the Taliban are fighting with greater vigor, the violence ultimately has
more to do with the failures of government, they say.
NATO commanders say the Taliban are stepping up the offensive in a bid to break popular support in troop- contributing nations.
Foreign troops can still draw upon reservoirs of goodwill here. In many parts of southern Afghanistan, memories of the civil war and the hard-line Taliban rule that followed are still fresh, and many residents remain willing to support the deployment of foreign
But those memories are dimming.
“When the communist government was not good, the mujahideen came; when they failed, the Taliban came. I don’t know who will come after this government, but it is losing the trust of the people,” says Hussain.