Even bombing can't make things worse for war-weary Afghans
KABUL, Sep 14 (AFP) - Growing signs that the United States is gearing up for a military attack on Afghanistan were greeted with weary resignation by the residents of Kabul on Friday.
After more than two decades of war, even the prospect of an onslaught by the world's most powerful military machine left many of the shattered capital's inhabitants unfazed.
"I am not worried at all, now we are used to it," said Faiz, a 33-year-old butcher in the Shari-Nau market district of the Afghan capital. "Since I was 12 all I have known is fighting and more fighting.
"So once again innocent people will be killed and nobody will care about it," he added with a shrug.
Nasir Ahmad, another mutton seller in the Shari-Nau, said it was inconceivable for Afghans to contemplate handing over Osama bin Laden -- even if the price was suffering US airstrikes.
"If a guest comes to our home and some else wants to kill him, he should first kill us and then our guest -- even if the guest is an infidel, not a Muslim like Osama."
Mirza Jan, who was selling fruit in the market, admitted to being fearful of the possible US attack. "That will add to our pains," he said. "We have already suffered enough."
Jan said he did not see why ordinary Afghans should not have to pay for the Taliban's decision to offer bin Laden shelter, especially given the role of America in helping to create the Taliban in the first place.
"I have not told Osama to come to Afghanistan. I have not chosen the Taliban to reign over us. If they do something wrong, why should I pay for that? "Both Osama and the Taliban were imposed on us by America," he said.
The likelihood of a US attack was widely seen as having increased after Washington on Thursday named bin Laden as a suspect in the investigation into this week's massive terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.
Military chiefs in Pakistan, one of only three countries which recognise the Taliban's rule, were Friday considering a US request for cooperation in mounting a possible attack, which Taliban leaders now regard as inevitable.
"Now they (the US) are indicating in clear words that they are going to strike," Abdul Hai Mutmaen, a spokesman for the Islamic militia's supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar told AFP.
He said he expected the attack to be far more extensive than the limited cruise missile strikes launched by the US in 1998 over bin Laden's alleged involvement in the bombing of American embassies in Africa.
"It will be at a very high level. Last time they only attempted to strike a (bin Laden) camp. This time they want to eliminate the whole system and government. "They have been looking for a pretext and now they have found one."
Suta Shah 64 an old man selling potatoes, onions and tomatoes from a wheelbarrow said God would punish the US if it did attack Afghanistan.
"We have our owner, we have our Lord. If they attack us the Almighty will punish them. They should be careful." "Why does America want to attack us -- what have we done wrong to them?"
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