– There are competitions in more places in the country than there have been for a while. Since I came back in 2013, it has gotten a little worse every year. NRK was inaugurated by Derje Water, Country Director of the Afghanistan Committee.
He has worked with Afghanistan since 1998 and has lived there for the past eight years. On Saturday, he traveled back to Kabul after a few weeks in Norway.
He returns to a country where violence is worse than it was many years ago. All foreign powers will be withdrawn by September.
The government army is increasingly managing on its own and in many places things are not going well.
This week only At least 72 government soldiers and 27 civilians were killed. So far 359 government soldiers and 231 civilians have been killed in May.
No one knows how many Taliban soldiers were killed. But the Taliban are making progress. There have been reports from across the country that they are seizing power in the countryside.
“Surrender or die”
Lakhman province in eastern Afghanistan is one of the strongholds of the Taliban for a long time.
Writes that as part of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, US forces withdrew from the province in early May New York Times.
The Americans handed over seven small bases and outposts to Afghan government forces. They had little food, less ammunition, and some had not been paid for five months.
As soon as the Americans left, the Taliban crossed the wheat and onion fields in the province and surrounded the government forces.
They brought the elderly from the villages and sent a clear message to the government soldiers: “Surrender or die”.
Two weeks later, government forces allowed the Taliban to seize all seven bases. 120 soldiers and policemen were hired independently to give up weapons.
Takes weapons and ammunition
Scenes of Lakhman province are being repeated elsewhere in Afghanistan. In May, the Taliban took at least 26 outposts after the government surrendered.
– The government cannot save the security forces. If they fight, they will be killed. So they have to surrender, says Mohd Jalal, the village head of Baghlan province.
There are four district centers with 26 governors, police and intelligence chiefs. Every time someone surrenders, the Taliban are strengthened and the government is weakened.
The Taliban have previously negotiated surrender, but not now. It takes place in the northern, eastern and western provinces of the capital Kabul.
As government forces retreat, the Taliban seize weapons, ammunition and vehicles.
During his years in the country, Land Director Waterdale has met many who have turned the pages of the conflict.
– An example is someone who was previously in charge of education in a district for the government we serve, who is now in charge of education for the Taliban in the same area, he says.
Waterdall says there is a very long tradition of changing alliances in Afghanistan.
This is a survival mechanism, you often go with the strongest party and you think you have the biggest chance to win.
– It is not a belief that converts to special principles or an ideology. It still says, “Well, the place or family where I have to do what I want to do can be secured.”
Working in Taliban areas
Most of the projects of the Afghanistan group are in rural areas. They are in disputed areas or in areas controlled by the authorities or the Taliban.
– Controversial areas are very difficult for us to work with. Watertall says it is most dangerous when there is changing control.
He says they have good relations with the government and the opposition. Both parties take into account the work they do.
Waterdall talks about a plan that is mainly controlled by the Taliban in three districts in Badakhshan province, but occasional fighting ensues.
The committee was there to distribute food in connection with the unavailability of food in connection with Govt-19.
– Then the war stopped when we went inside to distribute food to more than 60,000 people. Then they said “now you have to go out” and then we went out and at the same time they continued the combat operations, he says.
Must travel with male family member
The Afghanistan group has about 700 employees, with a budget of 70 million a year.
The demand is enormous. The UN estimates that by 2021, 17 million Afghans – 42 percent of the population – will be threatened with starvation.
40 per cent of the staff of the Committee are women. Most women in all organizations do not work “only” on women’s programs.
Waterdall says they are already noticing some practical differences that the Taliban are capturing. This has made it very difficult for female employees to travel to these areas.
– According to them, it is very difficult to travel without a male close family member who protects their dignity. What this means is that when people travel we pay for two instead of one so our costs go up, he says.
In a larger environment, working conditions do not change greatly. For example, this group runs health vocational schools in conjunction with the authorities.
Most of the students, most of them women, were from Taliban-controlled areas.
“When it comes to big projects like education, health care education and agriculture, it’s very rare for the Taliban to seize power in an area,” he says.
Conservative in the countryside
Watertall believes that when we talk about all the rights that women will lose if the Taliban come to power again, it is primarily about women in cities.
– He says women in rural areas never have special rights.
He says that if you live in the countryside, you often experience a corrupt, very conservative and very reactionary government apparatus.
The opposite is the case with the most conservative and most reactionary Taliban, but it is somewhat less corrupt.
Then they choose that the government has not offered any new ideology and a new social system and instead go to a little less corrupt and provide a kind of law and order.
– Today, there is less corruption in Taliban areas than in government areas, but Waterdall says it could change if the Taliban seize power.
Although they now control half of the country, there are larger and stronger forces against the Taliban.
– But the only thing they have in common is that they are anti-Taliban. Otherwise, they are really bitter enemies. This means the government is weak in some areas, but they have not always come up with real alternatives for the Taliban, the country’s director says.