Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Iraq - In Iraqi villages, troops see strides

Nice to see some noticing.

But in some of the small towns that ring the southern edge of Baghdad, the situation is quite different. For many residents, the daily dose of roadside bombs and gunshots that plague the capital is glimpsed only on television. Here, U.S. forces work to provide more electricity, to ensure water supplies are clean and to fix roads. The locals appear to appreciate it, but they also appear to genuinely fear what could happen if U.S. forces leave. [...]

In Mustafar, residents are just beginning to trust the Iraqi police, a ragtag group that periodically makes the short trek from its checkpoint into town to buy lunch or gifts. So far, no one has tried to sneak weapons past the checkpoint, and there has been no violence in the village for weeks.

It has also been peaceful in nearby Abu Hillan, a tiny collection of houses of Sunni Arabs along a strip of dirt road. Residents there recently teamed with a neighboring town and with U.S. soldiers to tap into an electrical substation, boosting their daily availability of electricity from about two hours to more than 20.

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