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100 People, 100 Places: Shadow Governments

What I really enjoy about this section is the ability to write little insights into a few of the people I met in Afghanistan.

A friend of mine shared his knowledge of some of his country’s more notorious characters, including Akbar Agha, a former senior Taliban commander.

Akbar Agha headed up a splinter group called Jaish-ul-Muslimeen, the Army of Muslims, and was responsible for kidnapping three UN workers in Kabul in 2004. He threatened to behead them, but they were luckily rescued by joint Afghan-International efforts.

My friend explained how the Taliban was changing its tactics and how they were making inroads into power by assassinating or removing local officials, and implementing shadow governments, which ran parallel to the official, but weak, administration.

The Taliban would attack the Afghan National Police and Afghan National Army and plant roadside bombs, which made access to local areas difficult for among others, aid workers. These activities also impacted on the local communities by limiting the transportation of goods to market, in a country where food insecurity is a major issue.