KANDAHAR — Crushed under the vicious cycle of violence, many Afghans see peace as a distant dream and yearn for the peaceful days of the Taliban regime more than five years after its ouster.
"We want peace..... ," Mohammed Shafik of Kandahar, told.
"We didn't have problems with the Taliban before," the young carpet seller in the volatile southern city continued.
Hadji Ramdullah, a shop owner in the Pashtun-majority city, agreed that the Taliban regime "knew how to keep order".
"In the time of the Taliban, Shari`ah was applied in line with our culture and our traditions," he said.
"We did not see all these thefts, these kidnappings, these murders," white- bearded Ramdullah lamented sitting cross-legged in his empty shop.
The Taliban launched from Kandahar the campaign that took it to power with the capture of Kabul in 1996.
Taliban claimed Sunday shooting down a NATO-chartered helicopter in the south with eight people on board using a surface-to-air rocket.
The southern provinces, especially Kandahar and Uruzgan, have seen a sharp increase this year in Taliban attacks.
Days after the 9/11 attacks, the US invaded Afghanistan to topple the Taliban regime and its ally al-Qaeda group.
Five years on, Afghan officials and right activists insist that the West's strategy has proved failure in putting the country on the "path of progress" as promised.
Business has collapsed in Kandahar after a wave of suicide attacks, bomb blasts and assassinations that have struck the Pashtun-majority city this year.
"Lots of people who returned after the fall of the Taliban have in the past months gone back to Pakistan because of the insecurity," said Shafik.
"It's not good for business."
A town of more than 400,000, Kandahar is almost cut off from the rest of the world.
Civilian flights have been suspended and access through road checkpoints is a major risk.
Most of the development projects are crippling as the majority of foreign organizations closed or employing only Afghan staff.
Fearful of abductions and reprisals, Afghans try not to tell anyone where they work.
Lashing out at the fake promises of peace propagandized by the US-installed government, many Afghans blame corruption and occupation for the deteriorating situation.
"People in the government who are only thinking about filling their pockets" are the reason behind the widespread corruption plaguing the country, said Haji Mohammed, a passer-by.
"And those who are not with the government have lost their rights."
University students also pointed the fingers at the corrupt government and the international community for the unwinnable situation.
"It is difficult to find work. The Pashtuns form the majority in this country but they are underrepresented (in the administration)," said Delawar Baraki, from neighboring Helmand province.
Others mainly blame the occupation troops for "lost dreams of prosperity".
"The international community is partly responsible for the violence by supporting a corrupt government," said Ismatullah Mansour, the head of the Kandahar student body.
"The Americans and the Canadians act like the Russians," fumed the frail young man, referring to the Soviet occupiers of the 1980s.
"What they should be doing is helping people, not bombing them."
Sour©e: Islamic Online
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