Taliban Exploit Openings in Neglected Province
...Deprived of jobs and local government services, people here are turning to Taliban courts for speedy justice and drifting toward those who will pay them — either local strongmen or the Taliban.
...A corrupt judiciary and the lack of government services have made it easy for the Taliban to gain a foothold in rural areas. At least the Taliban judicial system is swift and free of bribes, said Nuria Hamidi, a provincial council member. “They are solving issues quicker than the government, and people in the bazaar say, ‘I had this problem or that problem and the Taliban solved it,’ ” she said.
The Taliban have also been able to exploit ethnic differences, suggesting that the Tajik-dominated local government does not care for the Pashtuns here.
...The Taliban began to encroach several months ago, and now the elders find themselves accused of being Taliban by the police, many of whom are Tajiks, even though most people who live in the area oppose the Taliban.
...“To be honest, the people prefer the Taliban,” said Mr. Khan, the tribal elder. “These arbeki men are cruel, violent, taking everything by force from the shopkeepers. They are walking in the bazaar with their rifles, extorting the drivers and traders.”