Villages Hold Key in Fight for Control of Afghanistan

Neyaz Mohammad Sarhadi.

Neyaz Mohammad Sarhadi is district chief of the Panjwai District. He works out of an office at one end of the Panjwai Bazaar, which is one block away from where a suicide bomber killed himself and 21 villagers. Many were wounded. Jim Wildman, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Jim Wildman, NPR

Photo Gallery

Panjwai District sign i

The Panjwai District is about a 30-minute drive from the center of Kandahar. Drivers making this turn can only go as far as the district center at the Panjwai Bazaar. That's where the road ends. Jim Wildman, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Jim Wildman, NPR
Panjwai District sign

The Panjwai District is about a 30-minute drive from the center of Kandahar. Drivers making this turn can only go as far as the district center at the Panjwai Bazaar. That's where the road ends.

Jim Wildman, NPR

Five years after the American-led coalition attacked and drove out the Taliban, much has improved in Afghanistan. Five times more children are in school, a third of them girls. A paved highway connects Kabul to Afghanistan's other big cities — Kandahar in the south and Herat in the west. A president and a parliament have been elected.

But now the Taliban have reemerged as a threat to the new Afghanistan. They're trying to take the area around Kandahar back.

In fact, they dared to take a stand against Canadian troops under NATO command — and lost more than 500 fighters. It was a victory for NATO on the battlefield.

But the Taliban are hardly gone. They've resorted to suicide bombings, improvised explosives and lobbing rocket-propelled grenades at soldiers. Now the fight is taking place not as much on battlefields but in villages like Panjwai, near Kandahar.

Who wins will ultimately come down to who wins over the local people.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.