‘Everyone here hated the Americans’: Rural Afghans live with the Taliban and a painful U.S. legacy | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

‘Everyone here hated the Americans’: Rural Afghans live with the Taliban and a painful U.S. legacy

The white flags flutter in the apple orchards of this serene hamlet ringed by oatmeal-colored mountains. They mark the precise spots where U.S. airstrikes killed Afghans. In the village center lies the destroyed shell of a building that once housed shops; down the road is a mangled, rusted car.

There are white flags there, too.

Together, they’re reminders of the legacy the United States has left in many rural areas across Afghanistan.

“Everyone here hated the Americans,” said Zabiullah Haideri, 30. His shop was shattered by an airstrike in 2019 that killed 12 villagers. “They murdered civilians and committed atrocities.”

In Kabul and other Afghan cities, the United States will be remembered for enabling two decades of progress in women’s rights, an independent media and other freedoms. But in the nation’s hinterlands, the main battlegrounds of America’s longest war, Afghans view the United States primarily through the prism of conflict, brutality and death.

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