Journalist Says Taliban Takeover Looks “Irreversible”

Alternet is sharing parts of an interview Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman conducted with independent journalist Nir Rosen, who just returned from an invetigative trip to Afghanistan. The story Rosen tells is not pretty — it appears the Taliban are poised to reassert control over the troubled nation, despite the American military’s presence. What follows are Rosen’s words:

[T]wo Taliban commanders from Ghazni Province picked me up in Kabul and drove me down south to Ghazni, which is about 100-120 miles south of Kabul. You leave Kabul, you go through the province of Vardak, and then you get to Ghazni. And the fact that two Taliban commanders could pick me up in Kabul and drive me down in itself says something.

But as soon as we left Kabul Province and we were in Vardak, we were basically in a war zone. The famous Kabul to Kandahar highway, which was a hallmark of the coalition success of reconstruction in Afghanistan, is utterly destroyed. Craters have just torn the road to pieces all the way down. These are craters resulting from IEDs, from roadside bombs, targeting supply vehicles, logistical supply trucks that provide supplies for the Americans and the British. And just the trucks are littering both sides of the highway all the way down. Within about 30 minutes of leaving Kabul, we were in the middle of a war zone, and Taliban were fighting the Americans. And we had to wait a few hundred meters away with a few hundred other people for the fighting to stop. A little bit further down the road, there was more fighting.

And then, once we got to the province of Ghazni, we were basically in Taliban-controlled territory. They have checkpoints there during the day, where they stop cars and take people out, kill them if they want to. They conduct daytime patrols in their villages with rocket-propelled grenades on their backs, with fairly large groups, some six to eight, ten people with machine guns. They conduct trials, adjudicating disputes between farmers, etc. They execute spies. They arrested a young man when I was there for being seen walking with a girl. I mean, they feel extremely confident and comfortable even in the day, as if there were no Americans in the country.

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