Tuesday marked the most violent day in Afghanistan this year,
while Afghans are starting to show that they're tired of violence
and fed up with the Taliban.
After US Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales allegedly walked off a US
base in Kandahar last March and went house to house, killing a total
of 17 Afghan civilians, many worried that the Taliban would
capitalize on the incident and the long restive province would
revert to violence.
Yet more than five months later, violence in Kandahar remains at
record lows. Compared with the same time last year, the Kandahar
governors office reports that insurgent attacks and activity are
down 75 percent.
Marking a new development, not only did the Taliban fail to use
the shooting spree as a propaganda tool to renew their momentum, but
a growing number of residents say theyve grown frustrated with the
group and increasingly intolerant of its activities.
The bad behavior of the Taliban with the local people when they
use their fields, houses, mosques, and streets as their battlefield,
when they put landmines in roads and in their fields has shifted
the sympathy of the people toward the government. People are very
unhappy with the Taliban about these issues, says Haji Fazel
Mohammad, the district governor of Panjwayi, where the Bales
Throughout Afghanistan, many locals are losing whatever sympathy
they may have once had for the Taliban. In Ghazni Province in
eastern Afghanistan, a group of locals in Andar district rose up
against the extremist group after it shut down a majority of schools
in the area.
The uprising, which began in May, failed to spread beyond Andar
and there are a number of indications that local politics and power
struggles may have had just as much, if not more, to do with the
uprising than frustration with the Taliban. Most evidence points to
a conflict between Afghanistans Hezeb-e Islami, a more moderate
Islamic group, and the Taliban that has reportedly been taking place
in Wardak and Ghazni for some time now.
Still, as US and NATO forces work to hand over security
responsibilities to their Afghan counterparts ahead of the 2014
deadline to end their combat operations, there is hope that
evaporating support for the Taliban may lay the foundation for long-
term stability in Afghanistan.
Much like what happened in Iraq where there was a turning point
after Al Qaeda in Iraq had killed so many of the people and done so
many beheadings and intimidated so many, the people finally got
tired of it and stood up and fought back. That was the turning point
in Iraq. The same type of turning point can occur and will occur
here, says US Army Lt. Col. Praxitelis Nick Vamvakias, commander of
the 2-504 Parachute Infantry Regiment in Ghazni Province.
Taliban have got the message
Unlike in Iraq, locals say the Taliban received the message after
the uprising in Ghaznis Andar district and backed off from some of
its more aggressive behavior.
The situation is becoming normal again after the uprising. There
are no Taliban in the area where the uprising happened. …