Then Habiba’s elderly husband was badly beaten in a village brawl there was only one place, she said, that she could turn to for help and justice.
Barefoot and weeping, the farmer’s wife, 50, trekked for four hours through Afghanistan’s Hindu Kush mountains to meet the local Taleban commander.
“My feet were bleeding and I cried the whole way but I didn’t care about my safety,” she said. “We are poor people. We know the Government doesn’t help people like us.”
Corruption and incompetence in President Karzai’s Government — particularly at local level — have forced a growing number of people to seek the services of the Taleban.
The shadow government is not limited to justice. In Helmand, in August, Taleban commanders issued printed travel permits on headed notepaper from the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” to let people through checkpoints on the roads in and out of Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital. [continued…]