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Afghans Fight Extremism

Saifullah was among nine men recruited in Pakistan for so-called "jihad" in Afghanistan. "Mullah Samad gave me a gun on the border," said Saifullah, referring to the local Taleban commander. The Taleban set up roadblocks in the Afghan village of Loy Kariz, about fifty kilometers from the Afghan border city of Spin Boldak. The Taleban gunmen searched the cars of local residents and travelers. They seized and destroyed music cassettes and threatened men who were clean-shaven for being what the extremists called "un-Islamic." They also threatened to kill Afghans who aided U.S. troops.

But the people of Loya Kariz were not going to be intimidated. They fought back, killing two of the Taleban and wounding two others, including Saifullah. At least one villager was killed and a number of others were wounded.

Asadullah Kahlid, governor of Kandahar province, says preventing Taleban insurgents from crossing the rugged border area with Pakistan is difficult. "They have training facilities in Pakistan and are being supported down there," he says.

Taleban and other extremist insurgents continue to attack U.S. and Afghan troops, foreign aid workers, and Afghan civilians. Attacks by extremists cost the lives of some one-thousand-six-hundred people in Afghanistan during 2005.

In response, Afghans are speaking out and standing up against the extremists. Thousands of Afghans have taken part in recent demonstrations against them and their al-Qaida terrorist allies. "They kill us Afghans. They kill tribesman and they want tribesmen living in Pakistan and Afghanistan to fight with each other," said one demonstrator, Akhtar Mohammed Qabaili.

President George W. Bush says the U.S. supports Afghanistan's effort to rid itself of terrorists:

"We remain on the offensive in Afghanistan, where a fine president and a national assembly are fighting terror while building the institutions of a new democracy."

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says "the United States will continue to fight the. . .terrorism threat wherever we find it in Afghanistan."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.