The Dutch army has withdrawn from Uruzgan, and the big question ‘How did the Dutch do?’ was primarily answered by other soldiers. So what do the Afghans have to say when there are no soldiers around?
When after hearing all those stories about military successes I was listening to some Afghans in Tarin Kowt, I thought to myself: would it be possible to find an Afghan cameraman somewhere and organise a debate on the departure of the Dutch?
It took next to no time to set up. The cameraman from Sabaa Television had some fun, even though he sometimes failed to use the tripod necessary for steady images. My driver was scared because I had traded in my notepad for a far more conspicuous camera team. He wound a piece of cloth around his head and put on a huge pair of goggles. In the meantime, my translator was calling all kinds of potential speakers.
In addition to the local BBC journalist who gave his analysis of the future of Uruzgan, we also talked to supporters of the main opponent of the Netherlands, Matiullah Khan, whose ‘kingdom’ covers many regions of Uruzgan. The governor who tried to restrain him was fired, and Khodai Rahim Popal, a close relative, is now the interim head of the province. Local conflicts are resolved in his own shura. A lady like Nuria, who is in the video, was appointed to the Provincial Council, thanks to Matiullah Khan. Just like the schoolmaster in the video: he teaches in a school set up by Matiullah Khan.