Data Gathered Date: 

Sunday, March 31, 2013 - 16:15

Although a number of people in Kandahar feel change in their lives in the past five years, they still complain about the security situation and ask the next president to ensure security in the country.
Consisting of 15 official and two unofficial districts, Kandahar has 15 members in its provincial council (four of them are women). It is located around 500 kilometres south of Kabul.
Kandahar is known as the birthplace of the Taliban movement. The people work as  farmers and traders; poppy cultivation and smuggling are also major parts of the economy.
There are three women candidates for the four seats reserved for women in the provincial council. Under the election law, in such a situation, one seat will remain vacant.
The following report is prepared on the basis of views of seven people in Kandahar City, the provincial capital, and three districts. Those interviewed included two women and five men.

A widow: Life has improved, but there is no security
Forty-year-old Saleha, resident of Arghandab district of Kandahar, is earning her livelihood by
sewing clothes. She is a mother of four. Her husband died in fighting.
"In the past, I used to wash people's clothes and used drugs for sleep," said Saleha. However,  she learned tailoring in a course and supports her family in this way.
She says the first problem is security. The real reasons behind problems in life are wars, blasts, bombings and violence, she said. "Women lose their husbands in this fighting and then do jobs to look after their children."
She said she will vote for a person who can bring peace and end poverty. She says the women affairs department helped her recover from drug abuse and she also learnt tailoring.

Farmer: Life has improved
Resident of Dand district, 34-year-old Najeebullah says his life has improved as the number of people had increased in the city, creating a market for his farm produce. Najeebullah is bringing melons and water melons to the market each morning.
He will vote in the elections and in his view, the best way to elect the president is to hold meetings in mosques and hujras (community guesthouses) and decide a suitable candidate jointly.
He says the first problem of his area is insecurity and asks the future president to ensure peace. He says the upcoming elections will not be as peaceful as the previous one mainly because of security problems.
He said the road leading to the district had been paved during the current government, and canals had been constructed, but security had deteriorated.

Worker: I will not vote
Abdul Baqi, 28, a resident of Panjwayee district and presently in Kandahar, says he is not taking part in election. Baqi, who comes to Shaheedano Square in the city each morning in the hope of finding some work, says his life conditions have deteriorated.
"I voted for Karzai five years back, but he did nothing for the poor like us. It was during his government that we lost our village and house and everything in fighting," said Abdul Baqi. Because of this, he won't vote.

Disabled man: 'I got a house'
Saifullah Kako, 45, resident of the Muhammad Bin Rasheed Ibn-e-Maktoom township for disabled in Panjwayee district of Kandahar, is a security guard in an office. His wife is washing people's clothes.
Kako says he has job and got a house, and so has seen improvement in his living conditions. He knows four of the 41 candidates.
Kako says he listens to talk shows on radio about the elections and will select a candidate on the basis of what he learns.
He says insecurity and unemployment are the biggest problems of his area. His demand from the future president is peace with the Taliban.
Kako trusts the elections and it is because he heard on radio that the poll process would be monitored by foreign observers. To him, establishment of a township in Panjwayee for disabled people was the most important work of the present government.

Government Official: Taking part in election for change
Abdul Zahir Qalamwal, 32, who is a resident of the fifth district of Kandahar and a government servant, says the security situation has deteriorated and there has been no change  in his living conditions.
To him, the first problem of his area is lack of security and the second is unemployment.
Qalamwal is taking part in elections and says: "I'm taking part because I have lost confidence in the present regime. I want such a government to improve security and provide relief to the people."
He says road has been paved, but no other work has been done in the present government so far.

Female student: Some candidates are disloyal
Nineteen-year-old Walwala, resident of the second district of Kandahar City, who is student of 12th class and working with Pact Radio as reporter, says life has improved as she is studying as well as working.
She says she knows only three of the 41 candidates, who have held important jobs in the past. About the candidates, she says: "Some of them are those who remained with the warring sides in the past one way or another and harmed the people."
She considers lack of security as top problem of the area followed by lack of quality education for the people. Walwala says no job opportunities for women are also a problem.
Her only demand is to put an end to fighting. She says fighting affected life of women the most. She says some roads have been paved by the present government but nothing more than that has been done.

A Returnee: Not participating in the provincial council elections
A r
esident of Loya Wayala locality of Kandahar, 42-year-old Muhammad Nabi, who returned from Quetta city of Pakistan's Balochistan province three years ago, says his economic condition has deteriorated since his return.
Nabi, who is going to elect a candidate in consultation with his friends, says he knows only two of them. "I'm participating only in presidential polls. I'm not participating in provincial council elections because the candidates are illiterate. They only care for their personal interests instead of the people," said Nabi.
He considers insecurity, unemployment, inflation, and house rents as the top problems of his area. He has little trust in the election process as he believes foreigners will interfere in the process.
He says the present government did nothing for him. "I returned to my country in the hope that my life will get better,that  the government will provide me a piece of land, but nothing such happened. This is why I can say that nothing has been done for me."

An NGO employee: Powerful men should be removed from power
 Rahmania Tasawar,  26,  got her education in Pakistan's Karachi city and now is working with a non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Kandahar. She says that although the security situation has deteriorated, improvement is visible in her personal life.  She says roads also have been paved in her area during the present government.
She is taking part in the elections and planning to vote for a candidate in consultation with her office colleagues after studying the plans of all candidates. She knows only five of the candidates.
She says she will elect a candidate who has a higher education, has plans for progress and did not remain involved in fighting.
In her views, insecurity is the top problem. She says the southeastern zone is under the rule of powerful men with many of them involved in narcotics smuggling and who have violated the law. Such people should be removed from power as distance between government and people are mostly created by such people, she said.
She is taking part in presidential elections but not in the provincial council elections. It is because the people who are candidates for the provincial councils are not highly educated, she said. They don't have a sense of responsibility and plans for solutions to problems of the people, said Tasawar.
Her demand from the president is to end illiteracy and remove powerful men from government positions.