QL says the Taliban have pulled back from the villages but many have still been surprised by the Taliban's strength: there were perhaps 600 Taliban soldiers in the city right across the river from Kandahar, but the coalition and NATO and Afghan forces keep offering up body counts yet the Taliban still took control of some nearby cities for a while. (What did local Afghans make of this Taliban presence?) Some NGO and other workers said they were going to evacuate some of their offices, their international staff and some of their documents for the real fear that the Taliban might take control of Kandahar. This was earlier in the week and then US forces said there were no Taliban in the area and then 1,000 forces came to reinforce Kandahar. And then between some operations, it all seems to be over. (Do other Afghans believe the Taliban have the capacity to take control of Kandahar?) Well they were coming close and the fact is that the Taliban don't occupy that much but are still a major presence. From the Afghan side it's unthinkable that the US can't defeat the Taliban if it wants to. (What does this region look like?) Kandahar is a very dusty city but across the river there's a lot of rivers and lush lands, a lot of orchards. It's hard to root our resistance fighters from the orchards. The Taliban has evaporated in the face of a larger force though. (Why can't the Afghan and NATO forces root out the threat?) The Taliban are a natural phenomenon here, even though they do have outside support. Many people feel aggrieved by the government or have bad experiences with foreign forces, so that gives the Taliban support. (Is the government losing support?) Yes, eight out of ten people say they wouldn't vote for Karzai, but they don't know who else to vote for.
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