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In an Afghan Village, Living in Fear of Both Sides

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unhappycamper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 06:16 AM
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In an Afghan Village, Living in Fear of Both Sides

Hamlets like Towdabay Kalay are ripe for insurgents looking for recruits and supplies.

In an Afghan Village, Living in Fear of Both Sides
Published: April 23, 2011

TOWDABAY KALAY, Afghanistan The American soldiers knew little about this farming village in the rugged foothills of Paktika Province in eastern Afghanistan, but they were told the Taliban moved through regularly.

When the soldiers, part of the First Battalion, 506th Infantry, arrived on foot one morning, hiking along terraced fields carved into the steep hillsides, they found the villagers fearful. Not just of the Taliban, but of NATO forces as well.

We are scared of both sides, a village elder, Mutayeb Khan, told the soldiers, expressing a litany of concerns shared by many villagers in remote parts of the country.

They worry that NATO and Afghan forces will confuse them for insurgents while theyre tending their fields or collecting wood in the hills; that the Taliban will attack them if they help, or even talk to coalition forces; that government forces will detain their young men, perhaps for years..

We cant go to the Taliban and complain, Mr. Khan said. We cant go to the government because the Taliban will find out and call us spies and kill us.
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