21 November 2001 : Afghanistan Returns to Pre-Taliban Anarchy
Afghanistan has returned to a state of anarchy and lawlessness that existed there between the fall of the Communist Regime in 1992 and the emergence of the Taliban in 1994. Different warlords now control different provinces and there has been widespread rape, looting, murder and theft from areas now controlled by these warlords, such as in Mazar-i-Sharif, which is controlled by the forces of the Communist, General Dostum, who has a history of human rights abuses. It is said that once Dostum had one of his officer's legs pulled apart by tanks over a minor disobedience. These are the people now controlling Afghanistan with the help of American and British allies. A news report from Jalalabad below further underscores this.
JALALABAD, Afghanistan: Ordinary Afghans in Jalalabad and the surrounding eastern province of Nangarhar feel insecure under the new post-Taliban government of the area, and most businesses are closed because of fear of looting by the new local commanders.
"We are not willing to continue our business and trade in such an insecure atmosphere. I have shifted all my vehicles to my house," a showroom owner in the main Jalalabad bazaar, Muhammad Aslam, told reporters. "We fear that the commanders will loot our property. Most commanders now included in the government have stolen vehicles from relief agencies that were working in the area," he said, adding that many guards refused to work at night in the bazaar.
"The Taliban provided incredible security to the people but that is now history," said a security guard who pleaded not to be named. "Since the situation has deteriorated so much, why should we continue our job when we are unable to provide security to people's property?"
Although the Taliban were criticised by the international community for their harsh attitude towards women, their withdrawal from Jalalabad and other eastern areas has had very little impact on women.
Most women seen in the bazaar are still wearing the burqa, the head-to-toe veil which has only a small opening for the eyes. However, a few women were in the markets wearing only shawls.
"People feel insecure for various reasons. They believe that the newly established government may face differences among its members. This fear is based on concrete grounds and past experience," said a source close to a former Afghan commander Halim Shah.
Haleem Shah and his brother Sohrab have been denied any post in the new government. They had controlled telecommunications and intelligence in Nangarhar province before the arrival of the Taliban. Locals feel that the two brothers are angry and they may create serious problems for the new government.
According to one source, Haleem Shah has threatened the Shura (council) to seize a position for himself and his brother by force.
Some government sources admitted that the new government was relying on inexperienced intelligence personnel. About 40 per cent of personnel are under the age of 17.
Meanwhile, some locals said that a sizable number of Arab fighters were still hiding in the nearby mountains. Six of them were recently killed. Some locals have asked the new government not to take any action against these Arabs as they are guests in the area.