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Page last updated at 18:09 GMT, Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Mixed feelings on extra troops in Afghanistan

President Barack Obama is to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, to deploy within six months, US officials have said.

Here people in Afghanistan discuss the decision and whether additional troops will help solve the country's security problems.

FAWAD HABIB, STUDENT, KABUL
Fawad Habib

I welcome this decision, it's a good decision. We need a larger number of foreign troops in order to eliminate the terrorists and win the war in Afghanistan. If foreign troops leave, the country will no doubt become a nest of terrorists and it will be divided into more than 10 parts.

The presence of foreign troops is going to be extremely important for the welfare of the Afghan people until our own army becomes powerful.

But they need to get the support of ordinary people. If they don't have this support, they won't succeed.

Although they do enjoy public support in the major cities, it's a different story in remote areas. They should try very hard to avoid civilian casualties from now on and not undertake air attacks until they are certain of the target.

I think foreign troops should not only train the Afghan national army and police. They should play a role to stop the opium trade. If they succeed in stopping the trade, the Taliban won't have the money they need to disrupt life in Afghanistan.

NASIM SEDIQI, SHOP WORKER, HERAT

There's lots of scepticism around me towards foreign troops. We do need them to bring security, but there are doubts about how effective an increase in troop numbers is going to be.

The problem is that eight years have passed and yet no peace has come. There is fighting happening everywhere in the country. I don't think the foreign troops strategy has worked.

The question now is not how many extra troops will be sent but what role they'll play

It makes you wonder: foreign troops are great in number, well-armed and well-equipped. They've got the best tanks and weapons and yet they can't defeat the Taliban.

The Taliban can go anywhere and do anything they want. They go to a village, they open fire on a convoy and they use the villagers as a human shield. But there are no soldiers or police in the village to protect the residents. And that's the problem: every town and village should have it's own protection.

The question now is not how many extra troops will be sent but what role they'll play.

The most important thing is to protect the borders. Troops should be stationed at the border to prevent Taliban from crossing over from Pakistan.

Another important area of work is the training of the national police and army. We don't need more foreign troops, we need the ones already here to prepare our army so that we can start looking after our own security.

MOHAMMAD ASIF YOUSUFI, BANK WORKER, KABUL
Mohammad Asif Yousufi

I very much welcome the assistance from foreign countries. As the world knows, Afghanistan's security situation is not steady in some of the provinces where the Taliban are in charge.

Afghanistan is a developing country. We need a good security and we need our own army to be well-equipped and well-trained.

But before we have the capability to safeguard our security situation ourselves, we first need help from foreign countries to train our army and police. This is the only way we can ensure better security and peace in Afghanistan.

Nato and Isaf are not permanently here. They are here temporarily, that's why it's very important for them to prepare and train the Afghan army.

Increasing the numbers of American and Nato troops will certainly improve the situation in Afghanistan. We hope it will reinforce military presence at the borders, which are the gateway for foreign terrorists to enter and implement their plans.

Foreign troops need to maintain a control of the borders in order to prevent this from happening.

MAHMOOD, STUDENT, KANDAHAR

I believe that troops build-up in Afghanistan is only a temporary solution. It might quell violence in the short term.

The increased number of troops will backfire unless they can hold areas that are secured. Once an area is secured, it should never be ceded back to the Taliban.

But providing the Afghan security forces with tactical training is not enough. Most people think that the US and the UK contribute towards the suffering of ordinary people by teaching our security forces to be lethal without teaching them the responsibilities that come with it.

The Afghan police force and the Afghan army should be constantly watched over and severe punishment and disciplinary actions should be taken against anyone who engages in corruption or illegal activities, like opium trade.

There is also a lesson to be learned from the Taliban. When the Taliban first emerged in the 1990s, they were a very small group of people with AK47s. They set up checkpoints along a road making it safe from bandits. Since people were fed up with insecurity, they welcomed the initiative.

The US and the Europeans should do the same. They should not move into an area unless they are confident that they have the resources and the will to stay and make life better for ordinary people.



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