join Taliban to escape poverty
Abdul Malik, aged 17, joined Taliban insurgents in the south after two Taliban supporters gave him a mobile phone. A short while later his dead body was brought to his family.
"He was killed in a military operation near Musa Qala District [Helmand Province]," Malik's older brother told IRIN in Lashkargah, the provincial capital of Helmand Province.
"In our district many young guys join Taliban ranks for pocket money, a mobile phone or other financial incentives," said Safiullah, a resident of Sangeen District in Helmand.
Helmand Province has seen considerable insurgency-related violence - hundreds have died in suicide attacks, roadside explosions and military operations over the past few months.
High levels of rural poverty or unemployment are probably helping to drive young people like Malik to join the Taliban.
Due to insecurity in the southern provinces there are no available unemployment figures. However, a report by Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission on the social and economic rights of Afghans estimated that in some parts of the country the unemployment rate was as high as 60 percent.
Another reason why there are so many rural poor is the fact that agriculture, which employs over 60 percent of the estimated 26.6 population, has received only US$300-400 million of the over US$15 billion of international development aid given to Afghanistan since 2002, Oxfam International reported in January.
Senlis Council report
"The government [of Afghanistan] lacks the funds to provide for its citizens and is unable to create sustainable job opportunities for a large proportion of the population. Therefore, the south is a rapidly growing recruitment ground for the Taliban," the Senlis Council, a London-based international policy think tank, said in a report in February 2008.
"Where the government is failing to provide basic services, often the Taliban are filling the gap with more radical alternatives. This means that sought-after trust from the Afghan people is going to the radical militants rather than the elected government," said the report Afghanistan – Decision Point 2008.
"Research undertaken by The Senlis Council since 2005 shows conclusively that aid destined for the south is not reaching the people," the report said.
#1) How do you stabilize a small town, group of farmers
when there is a heavy weapons squad ( Taliban ) terrorizing the country side, times 500 villiages.
#2) How do you compete with the Taliban wages in a country
where the avg wage is $2 a day?