Afghans prefer Taliban to US troops?

US forces engaged in a massive anti-Taliban military operation in southern Afghanistan have become the target of Afghan resentment.

While some Afghan villagers have joined the Taliban out of poverty or fear, others, enraged by the loss of relatives in US air strikes, have taken up arms to seek revenge on foreign troops or to protect their homes

Residents and local officials warn that Operation Khanjar — which sees the advancement of 4,000 US Marines to eliminate militant elements in the south — could fuel tensions.

The Taliban virtually rule much of the southern provinces such as Kandahar and Helmand, with seven districts out of the latter’s 13 districts controlled by the militants.

Still worse, many Afghans believe they would be better off under the Taliban extremism and view artillery fire and air strikes by foreign forces as more dangerous.

“People are hostages of the Taliban, but they look at the coalition also as the enemy, because they have not seen anything good from them in seven or eight years,” said Hajji Abdul Ahad Helmandwal, a district council leader from Nadali in Helmand Province.

In opium-producing Helmand, many hold grudges against NATO soldiers for mistreating them during counter-narcotics operations. They complain that the troops carried out nighttime raids on houses, killed people inside their homes, and turned their sniffer dogs on them.

US military officials say Marines will seek opp… >>>

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