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Created 2017-10-12
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Description Two Westerners Under Taliban Rule In Kandahar

military officials are preparing to attempt to take control of Kandahar away from the Taliban later this year. Two young Western residents of the city, Felix Kuehn and Alex Strick van Linschoten, describe what it's like to live and work under Taliban rule. offensive on Kandahar were announced after the Taliban was forced out of Marjah. But Kandahar, Afghanistan's second largest city, is the heart of the extremist Islamic movement.

Asked about conditions under Taliban control, Kuehn said that the group's influence may not be immediately obvious to an observer. For instance, while the city has a police force, there's barely a government.

"It's about being able to operate with impunity," Kuehn said, "to assassinate and have access to whomever they want to have access to."

Since last summer, Kuehn said, their friends in Kandahar have been noticing a new influx of Taliban to the city. And that has only increased in recent months.

"Ever since we've heard that now the big push is going to be to Kandahar, the Taliban are also preparing for this."

"There's a general feeling of fear," Kuehn said.

For instance, when people part ways in the city, their goodbyes are tentative. Kuehn and Strick van Linschoten have written that the common farewell has become "I'll see you soon, if we're still alive."

Working in and around Kandahar, the two edited a memoir by Mullah Salam Zaeef, the Taliban's former ambassador to Pakistan. A former detainee at Guantanamo Bay, Zaeef has a long history with the Taliban; he was present when Mullah Omar was selected as the Taliban's leader.

As they worked on the translated memoir, the safety of the two partly depended upon Pashtunwali, the tribal code of the Pashtun people that requires the protection of guests.

Still, Strick van Linschoten says, their main strength is having many friends, who vouch for them and can guarantee their safety.

"If someone wanted to make trouble for us kill us, kidnap us it would be extremely easy," Strick van Linschoten said. "But you know, we've been living down there for two years now, which is an indication, I guess, that we're doing something right."

The Westerners' friends include tribal leaders and district chiefs. If someone were to attack them, Kuehn said, their friends would want to know who was responsible. "And in Kandahar city, nothing is a secret," he said.

"This relationship, and this kind of guarantee," Strick van Linschoten said, "we wouldn't go down there if we couldn't count on it."

Even so, the pair follow a set of security rules. They avoid falling into patterns as they travel, for instance; they don't call ahead of time to tell people where they'll be; sometimes they even switch cars during an outing.

And one basic rule persists.

"Don't deal with people you don't know anything about," Kuehn said.


Afghanistan's story and my story are not over. On 11 June 2006 news reached me about three prisoners in Guantanamo who were martyred. It is heartbreaking to hear of events like this. serpenti watch bvlgari price knock off Every day I still pray for my brothers who I had to leave behind. I pray that Allah will guide them and will save them in this life and the next, that he will give them and their relatives the tolerance and patience to endure.

This was not the first time a Muslim brother died in an American prison, but it was the first time that it happened in Guantanamo. The circumstances of their deaths are not clear, and the only source of information is the American government or the soldiers who work in Guantanamo. They claim that the prisoners killed themselves. I, for one, cannot trust a single thing coming out of the mouth of America. It is a lesson I learnt while I was in their hands for over four years. In Guantanamo, they lied to us. Nothing they said could be trusted, not even the time of day.

But even if what they say about the death of the Muslim prisoners in Guantanamo is true, we should still ask ourselves who is responsible. The conditions in the camp and the treatment by the American soldiers caused the deaths of the prisoners, who after years and years could no longer tolerate and sustain the pressure, the hopelessness and the constant threats. Time ground away at all that they held dear, debasing them. Every prisoner I knew suffered from psychiatric illnesses in Guantanamo. The system of the camp itself systematically wears prisoners down to the point where they lose their sanity.

There are many rules, regulations, systems and processes that are responsible. There is no rule of law in the camp; the treatment and punishment of the prisoners are illegal and strip them of any basic human rights; and the soldiers often misbehave and abuse their power and the prisoners alike. Even after years in Guantanamo, no prisoner knows his fate or when or to where he will be transferred, or if he will be released. Many prisoners are isolated with no contact to the outside world for years at a time. The holy Qur'an and Islam are insulted and used as a tool to punish and further degrade prisoners. In Guantanamo, you have no access to information, books or other means to study or pass the time. Sleep deprivation is widely used as a tool, often over weeks and months, which seems directly responsible for mental breakdown in many prisoners. Every prisoner is subject to degrading behaviour, like being left naked in front of others. Interrogators often use information as a weapon, telling prisoners that they have arrested their relatives, their father or son, or that their relatives have been killed. Many prisoners do not receive adequate health treatment, and letters to and from family members are steamed open and altered.

These are some of the things that all prisoners in Guantanamo have to endure; everything seems to be a lie, and there is nothing and no one to be trusted, with no end to it. Prisoners do not even know what to say or do to stop what is happening to them. No human can endure a situation like this forever.

So even if the prisoners really killed themselves, as the Americans would have us believe, there can be no doubt that the responsibility still lies with them. It is the camp Guantanamo itself that killed them. The Bush administration is responsible for their deaths, even though they might have died by their bvlgari serpenti price copy own hands. We have the right to live in our country without discrimination and while keeping our values. No one has the right to take this away from us. Each Afghan has the right to help his or her country, be it in cultural issues, national security, protection, their own well being, religious traditions, economic well being, or in terms of cultural values. National unity, tribal agreements and religious traditions form the basis for any development and progress in Afghanistan and need to be supported by its people. May Almighty Allah help us create a free Afghanistan!

The most important matter bulgari serpenti watch price list copy is to protect the honour of Afghanistan and its Islamic framework, including national Afghan traditions. These are the values which have protected Afghans, and for which Afghans have shed their blood and which have fuelled their bravery, defeating every foreign invader and superpower in the world with the help of Allah. Afghanistan never was and never will be a captive: it has always been a free country throughout its history. The Afghan nation has stood against all invaders in unity.

Throughout our history, every invader has been defeated by the Afghan nation. To be specific, it was national movements fuelled by the people who came to the streets to demonstrate and fight that have saved Afghanistan over and over again, not just from problems brought from the outside but even from their own governments at times.

The Afghan youth have answered all those problems with arms wide open. The main dispute is trust trust is an invisible force, and the lack of trust is the reason for the current weakness in Afghanistan. All Afghans need to come together and help each other. Naturally, all Afghans have a great respect for the way of Islam, and through Islam we can find a solution for the current problems and possible conflicts on the road ahead. The political vacuum that has ensnared our nation must be knock off bvlgari serpenti watch filled. Islam can guide us.
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