caf6e24a90458210VgnVCM200000e66411acRCRDapproved/thenational/Articles/Migration/2009-Q4Afghans fear extra troops will inflame conflictbaf6e24a90458210VgnVCM200000e66411ac____Afghans fear extra troops will inflame conflictAfghans are concerned that US president Barack Obama's plan to send an additional 30,000 troops into their country will cause fighting to get ever fiercer.Kabul<p>KABUL // The US plan to send 30,000 extra troops to Afghanistan has left Kabul's residents predicting that the fighting could get even fiercer during the months ahead.
Speaking the morning after the US president, Barack Obama, announced his new strategy for the war, people were sceptical that the surge will help bring an end to the long-running conflict.
Some said additional soldiers would be of little benefit unless the government here cleans up its act and the international community does more to address political problems within the region. Others were openly hostile to the move.</p>
<p>Mr Obama's strategy was unveiled after exhaustive deliberation in Washington about the best way to turn around a war that is getting bloodier with each passing year. In the end, he announced that 30,000 extra US troops would be deployed to Afghanistan before a drawdown can then begin in 18 months.
This surge will push the number of US forces to around the 100,000 mark, not including the tens of thousands of soldiers from other Nato members and the private security contractors also in the country.</p>
<p>"This is one of our greatest hopes, that the mujahideen will become bigger than ever. I would like all Afghans to become mujahideen," said Abdullah Khojai, a 35-year-old bookseller. "We have some problems with the Taliban when they are killing teachers and young boys, but I am not talking about those kinds of Taliban. I would like the number of Taliban who are working honestly and doing jihad to grow."</p>
<p>Ghulam, from Parwan province, described the presence of foreign troops here as "a reason for the Taliban to continue their fighting" and said there would be peace only when the foreigners leave.
With him was Mohammed Zahir Hashimi, 50, whose discontent centred on what would be done about the controversial rule of the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai. "The US, UK and Nato elected this government," he said.</p>
<p>Having experienced civil war after the Soviet occupation ended in 1989, many in Kabul still hold back from calling for an immediate US withdrawal. However, the optimism of just a few years ago is noticeably missing. Now there is cautious acceptance at best.
Growing civilian casualties, widespread insecurity, mass unemployment and government corruption are all issues raised when people are questioned about the effect foreign troops have had since 2001.</p>
<p>Mr Obama's speech did briefly try to tackle some of these concerns. He warned Mr Karzai that "the days of providing a blank cheque are over" and said he supported reconciliation with members of the Taliban "who abandon violence". The problem for him is that similar rhetoric has been heard before and Afghans are clearly losing their patience.
Ali Shah, a 25-year-old engineering student, acknowledged there had been significant improvements since the Taliban regime collapsed. He was still not happy, though.</p>
<p>"We want Obama and Nato to help Afghan people. In the south, Nato soldiers are going into people's homes and killing them, even when they have no proof of any crime," he claimed.
Mr Shah warned that Pashtuns, the country's largest ethnic group and its traditional powerbroker, felt disenfranchised and ignored in favour of rivals from the north.
"You know about the history of Afghanistan. We beat the Soviet Union and split it apart; we beat the British Empire and split it apart. If you do not give the Pashtuns their rights, they will rise up against you and split America apart, too," he said.</p>
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