What do ordinary Afghans think about the Taliban's resurgence?

Story highlights

  • Taliban has taken parts of Kunduz, in the group's biggest victory in 15 years
  • CNN talks to ordinary Afghans about the situation and the future for the country
  • Many say they plan to leave Afghanistan if security does not improve

Clarification: An earlier version of this story misquoted Hamed, a shopkeeper in eastern Nangarhar province who was interviewed by CNN. We originally quoted him as saying that the Afghan government is not in control in parts of the country, particularly in the west. He actually said that Afghanistan is not controlled by its own government and that Western countries are the directors. The text has been changed to reflect the correct version of what Hamed said.

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN)In the group's biggest victory in 15 years, the Taliban this week seized parts of Kunduz, Afghanistan's fifth largest city and a major strategic hub between Kabul and Tajikistan.

On Thursday the Afghan government said it had reclaimed most of the city in a big operation backed by U.S. airstrikes, fighting has continued in the city.
    However,at the end of the week the group also claimed control of the Warduj district of Badakhshan, east of Kunduz province, according to Fawzia Koofi, one of the first women to be elected to the Afghan parliament after the U.S. invasion of the country.
    CNN spoke to a number of ordinary Afghans from various walks of life, to understand how they feel about the resurgence of the country's former rulers, the presence of foreign troops, and the future of Afghanistan.
    Afghan National Army trainees during a military training session on the outskirts of Kabul city.

    Hoshang Noori, 34, student in Kabul

    "I felt really sad when I heard of the fall of Kunduz, especially for my friends and relatives living there.
    "I did not expect the government to let this happen.
    "Insecurity has even reached the outskirts of Kabul. One of my classmates told me that a week ago, the Taliban killed two people in his neighborhood, which is not more than 12 miles (20 kilometers) from the center of the city.
    "A lot of young people feel hopeless as there are no jobs, and there is a lack of security. Many of them are planning to flee and go to Europe in search of a better life."

    Mahnaz Peroz, 30, youth association member from Herat province

    "The situation is very bad. We are not optimistic about the future.
    "Our security forces are hardworking, but they cannot stand alone against terrorism. After foreign troops pulled out, the morale of the Taliban and other groups was improved, as they knew the Afghan security forces could not stand against them.
    "Both the Taliban and ISIS are threatening us. We need the support of the international community."
    An Afghan young man sells corn from a three wheeler cart in the capital Kabul.

    Hamed, 25, shopkeeper in eastern Nangarhar province

    "Afghanistan is in a bad situation.
    "The fall of Kunduz and other areas has weakened people's morale; the majority are trying to escape the country. Even myself, if I get a chance to leave I would, as I know that our lives here are not guaranteed.
    "Afghanistan is not controlled by its own government, Western countries are the directors."

    Mohammed Ayoub, 65, security guard in western Herat province

    "The current situation in Afghanistan has made people feel stressed out and helpless.
    "The government has lost control of the country.
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    "The (fall of Kunduz) has impacted me so much I don't even want to eat. I cry for those young Afghans who are leaving the country because of the current situation.
    "We don't want foreign forces in our country. I want them to leave and let others bring peace." 
    Two women walk down the road in front of the ruins of Darul Aman Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan.

    Hadia Sharifi, 20, journalism student in western Herat province

    "The situation is getting worse every day.
    "If it continues like this, everyone will leave Afghanistan.  
    "Only the people of Afghanistan can bring peace, not foreign troops. Afghans should think about the future of the country and the national interest. "

    Iqbal, 22, student of journalism from western Farah province

    "The situation in Afghanistan is getting worse every day. The lack of security has caused so many problems, with the fall of Kunduz being only the latest.
    "People are suffering due to poverty, unemployment and a lack of confidence in the future.
    "For some parts of the country, such as where the situation is particularly bad, the presence of foreign troops is important, especially when it comes to training local forces."
    Woman wearing a burqa begs on a street in central Kabul, Afghanistan.

    Abdul Wahid, 35, from southern Nimroz province

    "Insecurity has spread across the entire country -- we can't even travel safely to nearby areas.
    "The situation is sapping the morale of every citizen, and making people desperate to escape Afghanistan.
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    "We can't rely on foreign forces. If they truly wanted to bring peace, they could bring it in five minutes.
    "The government should not offer peace to the Taliban or ISIS-backed groups. They should take serious action against the terrorists."

    Rahimullah (not his real name), 27, western Ghor province

    "The fall of Kunduz has scared people here, they think any day now the province will also fall.
    "If the situation continues, the Taliban will definitely seize control of other parts of the country.
    "I support the presence of foreign troops (in Afghanistan), they can support our own security forces and provide training."
    A police officer on duty on Wazir Akbar Khan hill in central Kabul, Afghanistan.

    Jamil Ahmad, 25, from southern Kandahar

    "When see situations such as Kunduz, we get hopeless and stop trusting the government, but at the same time, when we see successful actions against the terrorists we become hopeful again.
    "People should not feel disappointed too quickly, we are in a key phase of development and should not succumb to despair."

    Saleem Khan, 40, southern Kandahar province

    "This is an important time for Afghanistan as the entire world's attention is on us.
    "Unfortunately for the Afghan people, there is not widespread support for the government.
    "If we had unity, we would not have lost Kunduz."