American troops in Afghanistan
The Petraeus strategy up close
Slow and bloody nation-building in Kandahar province
Oct 7th 2010 | ARGHANDAB DISTRICT, KANDAHAR
LAME, toothless and 80 years old, Haji Beardad is not exactly imposing. Yet the American soldiers in the northern Arghandab valley in Kandahar province court him assiduously, promising a school and a mosque for his village of Kuhak. For Haji Beardad, frail as he looks, is an important ally. Since he told the Americans that his people would co-operate with Afghan security forces and keep watch for outsiders, attacks in Kuhak have dropped sharply. “I’ve told everybody in the village to report if someone comes to visit or we’ll have him arrested,” he says.