News / Asia

Afghans Hopeful, But Worried About Future

Afghans Hopeful, Also Worried About Their Futurei
|| 0:00:00
X
Sharon Behn
July 30, 2012 2:23 PM
During the past forty years, Afghanistan has had several national anthems and flags. After decades of political change, Sharon Behn reports from Kabul on the worries over the next big transition after international combat forces leave in 2014.
Sharon Behn
KABUL — During the past forty years, Afghanistan has had several national anthems and flags.  After decades of political change, many worry about the next big transition after international combat forces leave in 2014.
 
Modest changes

There is a growing middle class in Afghanistan’s cities, including the capital Kabul.
 
It is an increasingly urban population. They are Muslim, modest, and enjoy having fun.
 
Places like this bowling alley are new to Afghanistan, as is the idea of women playing sports with men, even their brothers, in public.
 
Sarwar Sarwari says the bowling alley opens up new possibilities. “To me, I think, it is a step toward democracy, where you see women and men come together and play something like this," he stated. "I never had this in Afghanistan when I was a child.”
 
But Sarwari says people are uncertain about their future. “Nervousness is all around, you can feel it in the city, within the government, within the people, when people talk around.  I am hoping that things will work out to the best in this country, because people put in [worked] their hardest to make it happen,” he said.
 
Extravagant wedding halls show there is a lot of money is some parts of Kabul.
 
There are many businesses investing here.
 
Reshaping Afghanistan

But Afghanistan’s six national flags and six national anthems in less than 40 years are reminders of how different leaders tried to shape the country’s direction.
 
Afghans are very different from 11 years ago when the Taliban was thrown out.  They are more educated. More people live in cities and almost half own cell phones. But many remain uncertain about the future.
 
Afghan analyst Omar Sharifi says violence will not dictate who runs the country. “Now nobody sees a coup d’etat, or overthrowing the government, or the taking by force of power as a legitimate means.  The people believe in elections as a legitimate means of establishing authority,” he explained.
 
Despite the political changes, many women in Kabul remain too frightened to speak on camera.  Privately, they say they fear losing the few rights they have gained in the past decade.
 
In a male-only billiards hall, patrons worry about the increasing violence and about the future of Afghanistan’s democratic government.
 
Yar Gul Nader Safi is pessimistic. “The future as I can see it: for the past two months there are a lot of suicide attacks, and also the Taliban they are attacking all different places.  It seems to us that it [the future] will be dark,” he said.
 
After 40 years of dramatic political swings, many Afghans in Kabul worry that the country’s political future may be similar to its tumultuous past.

You May Like

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Dr. Malek Towghi/Tauqee from: USA
August 01, 2012 8:31 PM
As long as Pakistan remains intact it will not allow peace of mind for the Afghans.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid