Afghans Flee Homes as U.S. Pulls Back

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Wazira, a 37-year-old mother of six, abandoned her home and apple orchard in Afghanistan’s rural Wardak province last year and moved with her whole family into a single room on the fringes of the Afghan capital.

“We didn’t have any choice but to come to Kabul,” she says. “The Taliban were forcing us to prepare food for them. But if we did, the government would harass us. We were stuck in the middle.”

More than 590,000 Afghans had been displaced from their homes by fighting and Taliban threats by late August, according to the United Nations, a 21% increase since January and more than four times the number in 2006, when the insurgency began in earnest. Wazira, who like many Afghans goes by one name, is one of more than 12,000 displaced people from Wardak province alone who now share homes around Kabul, according to the U.N.

U.N. officials worry that widening violence could kick off an exodus abroad when American-led forces leave the country next year.

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