While coalition forces continue to kill militants in the provinces south of Kabul, the resilient Taliban forces continue to expand their influence in the area. Their presence is so overwhelming in some areas that they’re set up their own ‘shadow government’ with its own court system. In the areas they control most completely, these government systems are considerably more powerful than their coalition-supported counterparts, and according to some reports, better accepted.

Christian Science Monitor reports that in provinces like Logar and Ghazni, locals are eschewing the wildly corrupt Afghan government in favor of the more credible Taliban alternative. Rather than dealing with a government court system rife with bribery, many are choosing to take their disputes to the sharia-based Taliban courts.

The Afghan government has insisted all along that the Taliban’s interest in the provinces begins and ends with their designs on recapturing Kabul. And with the Taliban openly patrolling the streets during the day, Afghan government police don’t dare enter many of the areas. Not that they’re needed, as many villagers say that crime has virtually vanished anyhow.

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