Taliban on the Rise 7:00, 2006 (Ref: ME06470)


The Taliban is making a comeback in Afghanistan, increasing its attacks on US and allied forces and on Afghan government operations, including schools. In 2006, a camera crew happened to be on hand for such an attach – and things quickly turned ugly. Pictures of an Afghan school being burned to the ground by a resurgent Taliban, shot by an Afghani camera crew, working with a British TV team, are a rare example of the unstable and dangerous security situation in Afghanistan. As the crew films, the Taliban fighters who set the fire suddenly appear and threaten to the shoot the journalists. They also try to take the camera. These Taliban say the schools are symbols of Western intervention in Afghanistan. Under Taliban rule, education was restricted to the teachings of the Koran – and girls couldn’t go to school at all. Across Afghanistan, more than 160 schools, many of them newly built, have been burned. These Taliban say they are un-Islamic – foreign. “The Koran tells us who our friend are,” one says. “Americans? We don’t want Americans. We don’t want Americans or anyone else. We’ll look after our own country. Down with America. Down with America!” But while the Taliban fighter continue to argue with the crew about the camera, there’s another shock – they are ambushed by Afghan government security forces. Caught between the Taliban and the government forces, the crew try to take shelter, moving toward the burning school. In the confusion, and ignoring the protests of the producer, the soldier rains blows on the crew. The beatings continue until a senior officer orders a halt. What’s unusual this time is that the security forces showed up at all – more often than not, they can’t or don’t come. Years after they were driven from power by the US-led invasion, officials and elders here say the Taliban is making a comeback.