Afghanistan history – Land And People
The study of the Afghanistan US war necessitates a good background understanding of Afghanistan history. The land area today known as Afghanistan is situated at the heart of south-central Asia. It is at the gateway between Europe and Asia. The country is bounded by Iran in the west, by Pakistan in the south and east; Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in the north. It also shares a narrow corridor with the Xinjiang Province of China in the northeast.
The country is landlocked, with a land area of 652,864 sq km. Afghanistan is referred to in Geographics as the most mountainous country in the world. The land has greatly influenced its people’s lives. Their adaptation to the natural terrain has exacted much strain in eking out a living. Most of the country lies between two thousand and ten thousand feet above sea level. Some of the mountainous peaks in the Himalayas range at the border with Pakistan rise above 20,000 feet.
The population of Afghanistan is about 37,000,000 and is at present one of the fastest-growing in the world. About one-third of the population speaks Pashto, the language of the Pashtun people. However, about half of the population speaks Dari, a language peculiar to the Tajik, Hazara Rizilbash the Chadar Aimak and several others.
The reason for the mosaic conglomeration is that over the years numerous conquering groups had at various times invaded and inhabited the land area under study. They range from Turks, Mongols, Dravidians, Greek Scythians, Indo-Aryans and Arabs. They variously influenced its culture and ethnography and had deep involvement in the socio-economic evolution of the land.
That makes Afghanistan a salad bowl of cultures and ethnolinguistic groups. Intermixture derived from intermarriages by the two dominant groups has produced a people who speak Indo-European languages but possess physical attributes associated with Mongoloids of Central Asia and their orientation.
Like the Middle East and much of the Near East (and it is hard to delineate between the two), Afghanistan has a long history of domination by foreign invaders whose occupation of the land seemed tenuous. Quite often, such occupying powers were supplanted by more powerful bands of invaders. Even when not under conquest by foreign invaders the area was often strife-torn by rivalry among its numerous indigenous ethnic-based warring factions.
In the prehistoric era, the land was subjected to series of attacks and was ultimately conquered by Darius 1 of Babylonia at about 500 BC. The period of Darius conquest ended with the invasion by the Macedonian army under Alexander the Great in 329 BC. Next came Mahmud of Ghazni whose empire spanned the length and breadth from Iran to India. He is considered the greatest of all Afghanistan’s conquerors.
By the thirteenth century, Genghis Khan, a Mongolian statesman and adventurer invaded the land from the east and set up a sprawling empire in the region. He laid waste much of the land through endless wars. He maintained a strong foothold in the Kandahar region until he died in 1239. However, it was not until the eighteenth century that the area was united as a nation. By 1870, following the invasion of Afghanistan by various Arab conquerors at different times, Islam began to take root.
British influence came into the region and took a dominant role in the nineteenth century. Efforts made to annex Afghanistan to the far-flung British empire were resisted by the fiercely independent Afghans. Britain’s further attempts to insulate Afghanistan from Russian influence led to the British invasion of Afghanistan leading to series of Afghan wars (1838-1842,1878-80, 1919-1921) In the end, Britain’s prolonged entanglement in WW1 led to her defeat by Afghans in 1921. Britain’s defeat conferred the status of an independent nation in Afghanistan.
Thereafter Afghan ruler Amanullah Khan embarked on socio-economic reforms. Amanullah declared Afghanistan a monarchy in 1926, disappointing those who had looked forward to an Emirate. He embarked on series of modernization schemes and attempted to reduce the power of the Loya Jirga, the National Council. It was a great political miscalculation.
Critics of his policies took up arms and launched attacks on the establishment in 1928. He abdicated the throne and proceeded into exile in 1929. He was succeeded by King Zahir Shah. Considerable stability came to Afghanistan during his rule.
The Zahir Shah reign attracted American recognition in 1934, a year after he ascended the throne. However, Britain’s withdrawal from the sub-continent in 1947 altered the geopolitical status of the region. Two nations emerged: India became a Hindu but predominantly secular state while Pakistan became an Islamic state.
More reforms were put in place in Afghanistan by Zahir Shah when his cousin Gen Mohammed Daud Khan became prime minister in the Afghan government. He was pro-Soviet and looked up to the communist country for economic and military assistance. One of his most significant social reforms was allowing women more participation in public functions. Women were allowed university education as well as joining the workforce.
Daud maintained a very close relationship with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. As Soviet influence increased the Afghan Communist Party was formed by Babrak Karmal and Nur Mohammad Taraki. It remained secret until Zahir Shah was overthrown in a military coup orchestrated by Daud Khan in 1973. Daud abolished the monarchy and declared himself President of the Republic of Afghanistan.
Afghanistan Wars Timeline
Daud Khan’s second tenure brought hopes for establishing a new Afghanistan. Efforts were made to write a new constitution that would create a new socioeconomic foundation. It was expected that the constitution upon implementation would transform the country and make Afghanistan less dependent on socialist ideals.
It was also expected to make the country less dependent on its northern neighbour, the Soviet Union. American influence would be whittled down to tolerable limits as relationships with Muslim neighbours received higher preferences. Daud reached an agreement with Pakistan’s Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on how to resolve the Pashtunistan problem to restore peace in the region.
The new constitution was approved in 1977 by the National Assembly. New articles and amendments enshrined in it conferred the status of President on Daud. His political adversaries reunited against him and made governance difficult for him and his cabinet dominated by sycophants and elements of the royal family.
Widespread demonstrations marred his efforts at establishing a stable government. His arch-enemy the U.S educated Hafizullah Amin of the People’s Party organized his allies in the military to stage a coup. Daud Khan was killed along with several members of his family. A new Democratic government was established on April 27, 1978.
An election was conducted and a new Revolutionary Council constituted with Nur Mohammed Taraki as president. Babrak Karmal of the Banner Party and Hafizullah Amin became deputy prime ministers. Their policies centred on establishing a new beginning in the nation, free from all forms of control from the Soviet Union. A non-aligned foreign policy and well-articulated Islamic principles to give Afghans a new sense of nationalism were also adopted. Cracks soon emerged in the union between Amin and Karmal.
Through intrigues concocted by party apparatchiks, Karmal and his cronies were appointed ambassadors and sent out of the country. Taraki began to pursue policies perceived by Afghans to be Marxist- Leninist, triggering resistance from the countryside, especially over land reforms. Others viewed the positions. as a complete departure from Afghan cultural orientation. Violent demonstrations rocked the countryside and soon spread to Kabul, the seat of government in1978.
The murder of U.S ambassador Adolph Dubs sealed all hopes of further alliance and aid from Washington DC. Hafizullah Amin became prime minister in April 1979 with Taraki as president and general secretary of the ruling PDPA. The pressure from increasing protests in all parts of the country eventually led to the collapse of the Afghan army.
Amin demanded and got military equipment to prop up the fledgling administration. Divisions within the administration increased and degenerated into conflicts. Taraki was killed during one such conflict. Henceforth, Amin’s efforts to further entrench himself in office brought a clash of interests as he drew closer to the U.S and Pakistan over security issues.
Why did the Soviet Union invade Afghanistan?
On December 24, 1979, the Soviet Army crossed the border into Afghanistan in an invasion, apparently aimed at restoring stability to Afghanistan. Three days later on May 27, 1979, Hafizullah Amin and his close associates in government were murdered in cold blood. The Afghan ambassador to Moscow, Babrak Karmal returned to Kabul as Prime Minister, President of the Ruling Council and Secretary-General of the Ruling PDPA. The stage was set for conflict. Opposition to the Soviets intensified and resistance to Karmal’s administration stirred more protests from all districts and provinces of Afghanistan.
By mid- 1980, bands of rural resistance activists called mujahedeen(warriors)organized attacks and mounted very stiff resistance towards the Soviet invaders and the Soviet-backed Afghan Army. Hundreds of mujahedeen fighters crossed the border to Peshawar in Pakistan and mounted resistance to the Kabul government from outside.
In 1971 Karmal resigned from office and was succeeded by Keshtmand. When Mohammed Najibullah a former head of the secret police became general secretary of the PDPA, about a million Afghans began to cross the border. Many seemed to have a sense of dread towards him. They chose to move to Iran and Pakistan as refugees.
The administration made serious efforts to reconcile with the mujahedeen but received no positive response. All appeals for ceasefire yielded no results. The Soviets resorted to using helicopter gunships and jet fighters to bombard mujahedeen positions. Still, areas under government control continued to shrink.
Moral within the Afghan military dropped to its lowest ebb. By 1987 the size of the army had dropped from about 100,000 to just 25,000 or thereabout. All strategies adopted by the Soviets to facilitate defeat were effectively countered. In the meantime, the mujahedeen began to receive weapons from China, UK and the U.S. Other forms of aid also came from Iran, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.
In a sense, the panoply of nations arrayed against the Soviet Union was a clear demonstration of Cold War antics. In other words, the conflict may have been a smokescreen for projecting Cold War interests. The fortunes of the conflict turned in favour of the resistance with the supply of American shoulder-fired Stinger anti-aircraft missiles which downed numerous Soviet attack helicopter gunships.
Soviet casualties mounted rapidly in the Afghan war, reaching over 50,000 by 1988. More than that, the entire Afghan countryside came under the control of insurgents, leaving Kabul and a few other cities in the hands of government security forces. Pressure from Pakistan and other external supporters began to mount and finally compelled the seven insurgent groups to form a united alliance. The guerilla commanders harmonized their plans to liberate their homeland and pursue the Soviets from Afghanistan.
The plan was backed by United Nations (UN) sponsored talks between the foreign ministers of Pakistan and Afghanistan. The focus was on how to work out a program for the withdrawal of Soviet troops from the Afghan war. Besides, the conflict had by this time taken a huge toll on the floundering economy of the Soviet Union under Mikhail Gorbachev.
Moscow finally committed to pulling out its troops beginning from May 1988. The Peace Accords were signed in Geneva in April 1988 by Pakistan, U.S, Afghanistan and the Soviet Union. By the terms of the Geneva treaty, all signatories guaranteed the independence of Afghanistan. A significant article in the treaty emphasized the Soviet withdrawal of its 100,000 troops.
Osama bin Laden
In 1988, the Saudi born jihadist Leader Osama bin Laden and fifteen other jihadists formed al-Qaeda or “the base”, in Afghanistan. The group was an avowed supporter of the Jihad or Holy war against the invading Soviet troops and the Afghan army. Their goal was the establishment of an Islamic Emirate governed according to strict Islamic practices. It joined in the attacks and claimed victory over the Soviet army when the latter signed the withdrawal agreement. Henceforth, their planning centred on the humiliation of the other superpower: the United States of America.
The scheduled pull out of Soviet troops in Afghanistan from the Afghan war commenced in May 1988. On February 15, 1989, the last Soviet soldier departed Afghanistan. However, the conflict continued to rage across the nation. The Soviet withdrawal did not end the fighting as attacks on military formations continued. Najibullah tenaciously held on to power against all speculations of the immediate collapse of his administration after Soviet withdrawal.
The mujahedeen in Pakistan rejected all reconciliatory moves from the administration in Kabul. Leaders of the insurgents went ahead to form an interim administration in exile headed by renowned guerilla fighter Sibhatullah Mojadidi. Najibullah’s outsider from office in 1992, and, the subsequent rebel interim administration formed in exile to replace him did not also end the conflict.
Rival militia groups continued to vie for control of sections of the devastated nation. Afghanistan seemed headed for Islamization after the collapse of the communist government.
The fundamentalist interim administration banned the sale of alcohol and constrained women to strictly adopt Muslim dressing. The United Nations gave Najibullah sanctuary as the mujahedeen fighters and army deserters launched concerted attacks and entered Kabul.
The insurgents’ warlords reached an agreement to form an Islamic state administration with Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani as president. The situation remained fluid and unpredictable until 1995 when the Islamic militia, the Taliban formed a government. War-weary Afghans, exhausted by years of drought and famine settled for a respite by accepting a government with traditional Islamic principles. However, a large segment of the populace felt alienated by strict Islamic doctrines imposed on the people.
The Taliban banned the cultivation of poppies for the opium trade; put restrictions on women education and employment opportunities. Women were to be completely veiled and were not permitted to move alone in the streets. Executions and amputations were enacted as penalties for minor offences. The U.S refused to recognize the Taliban administration. However, anti-Taliban sentiments began to grow in the country.
Why Did U.S Invade Afghanistan?
The United States invaded Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, after the September 11 attacks by terrorists on different targets in the United States. The terrorists had commandeered plane bombing of different targets on September 11, 2001, including the twin-tower World Trade Centre in New York. The others are the Pentagon outside Washington DC and a third bombing directed at the White House crashed into a Pennsylvania field.
The U.S rallied the support of its NATO allies to accomplish its mission in Afghanistan. The Allied support willingly came to assist in the combat operations of the conflict sometimes referred to as the U.S war in Afghanistan. The main aim was to decimate the terrorist group and deny it the use of safe operational bases and other facilities in Afghanistan.
The suspected mastermind of the attacks Osama bin-Laden, a renowned international terrorist had earlier launched attacks on western interests from its bases and facilities domiciled in Sudan before relocating to Afghanistan, following his expulsion from the latter. Al-Qaeda had claimed responsibility for the simultaneous bombing of U.S embassies in Tanzania and Kenya on August 7, 1998.
President Bill Clinton ordered a military strike by U.S forces on al Qaeda bases in Afghanistan. The cruise missiles narrowly missed the group’s leader bin- Laden. The U.S Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) declared him wanted. Again the George W Bush led U.S administration requested the extradition of bin Laden for prosecution after the September 11 attacks. As in the past, the request put before the Taliban government by Washington DC went unheeded.
The Taliban led administration of the Mullah Omar Islamic state demanded that Washington DC tender convincing evidence that bin Laden masterminded the September 11 attacks. Second, they needed proof that al-Qaeda was behind the bombings and, third, that the attacks were directed from havens in Afghanistan. Taliban leaders also dismissed the request to shut down the group’s bases in the country.
The George W Bush led U.S government sought the support of Britain and took military action against Afghanistan. Both countries jointly launched the invasion code named Operation Enduring Freedom. The invasion, therefore, marked the first phase of the U.S Afghanistan war.
Before the U.S led invasion in 2001, the civil war was raging between Taliban leader Mullah Omar and his forces clashed with the Massood led Northern Alliance group as well as another group led by Karzai for the control of the country. It was known as the Afghan Civil War and had been on since 1996. With the U.S invasion, the Northern Alliance and the Coalition troops were pitted against the Taliban. The Taliban government controlled 90 per cent of the country before operation Enduring Freedom began in 2001. The success of the invasion meant the removal of the Taliban from power and subsequent denial of al-Qaeda facilities and bases from which to operate.
When Did The War with the Taliban Start?
The U.S conflict with the Taliban began with Operation Enduring Freedom on October 7, 2001. The U.S and British forces attacked al Qaeda bases in Afghanistan with warplanes. The Taliban responded by declaring a jihad or holy war on the U.S and its allies. Retreating Taliban soldiers moved into southern Afghanistan and shifted base to Kandahar, the largest city in the south. The city was besieged by fighters under Karzai who moved in from the north and supported by Gul Sherzai who attacked from the south. It was during the advance in Southern Afghanistan that Mullah Dadullah was killed in a clash.
With heavy bombardment from the air and relentless pursuit from Northern Alliance fighters on the ground, the Taliban insurgents surrendered Zabul Province its last stronghold to the new rulers in Kabul in November 2001. The conflict enabled the U.S and NATO-led coalition forces to dislodge the Taliban from power thereby denying the group further use of its bases in Afghanistan for Taliban attacks against western interests.
This phase was followed by the setting up of a coalition of more than forty countries (including NATO troops) from different parts of the world for the maintenance of security in Afghanistan. The coalition mission was known as International Security Assistance Force( ISAF). ISAF was followed by another alliance called Resolute Support Mission(RS). Some of Resolute Support member countries operated jointly with the newly formed Afghan army in combat against Taliban insurgents who retreated to the countryside and across the border to Pakistan. In other words, this phase was marked by fighting between Taliban insurgents and Afghan troops. The latter was supported by the International Security Assistance Forces and Resolute Support Mission consisting mostly of American soldiers.
On December 7, Pakistan officially declared that “the rule of the Taliban in Afghanistan has finally ended”. In the following week, prominent anti-Taliban leaders converged in Bonn, Germany for an UN-sponsored conference on the way forward for Afghanistan. Two weeks later, the Bonn agreement endorsed Hamid Karzai, a royalist of ethnic Pashtun background as head of an interim government. Peace gradually returned to much of the nation. In 2002, the Loya Jirga, Afghans Grand Council confirmed the Bonn agreement the U.S backed Karzai as interim leader vested with the power to rule till 2004.
Pockets of resistance to the new Afghan government headed by Hamid Karzai remained in parts of the country. The situation prompted NATO to take over the security of Kabul in August 2002. This would be recorded as the first time NATO ever took such a step outside Europe. At the expiry of Karzai’s mandate in 2004, the Loya Jirga adopted a new constitution for Afghanistan. The constitution was a product of consultations and deliberations by a wide spectrum of Afghan society, including rural communities. About half a million people were involved in the process.
The constitution provided for a president and two vice presidents. The article establishing two vice presidents was however expunged just before ratification. The constitution also approved two languages, Pashto and Dari, for the nation. Equality for women was endorsed as a key aspect of the constitution to put an end to the thorny fundamental Islamist injunctions placing limitations on female gender status.
The ratification was followed by national Presidential elections in which Hamid Karzai was one of eighteen presidential candidates. Hamid Karzai won the election by winning 55 per cent of the 10.5 million votes cast by registered voters. In 2005 parliamentary elections held for the first time in 30 years.
Taliban and al-Qaeda insurgents did not relent in their war against the Karzai led administration. Consequently, NATO expanded its peacekeeping operations to other parts of the nation. As Afghan forces gained more ground and progressively took over from the U.S led troops, Taliban fighters resorted to suicide bombing raids against the international forces.
President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama directed U.S Generals in the war theatre to change battle strategy. Key Taliban commanders were targeted and some including Mullah Dudullah were killed in southern Afghanistan. George W. Bush strategy had been to achieve the military defeat of the Taliban, reinstate a legitimate and acceptable government in place. Thereafter, he hoped to embark on rehabilitating overturned institutions of governance, then withdrawal of troops.
Perhaps few troops would be left behind to manage anticipated counterinsurgency forays. His plans didn’t work out perfectly. It was left to President Barack who took over from him to implement. The awkwardness of the situation compelled Obama to call for a surge in troops’ presence. He moved General David Petraeus to the war theatre in Afghanistan to facilitate his plans. Even at that, the Afghan security forces proved incapable of holding Taliban forces at bay as civilian casualties continued to mount. By 2014 Barack Obama while withdrawing combat troops deployed more military and civilian trainers to war-ravaged Afghanistan.
The international community pledged a donation of 15 billion dollars in aid to the Karzai administration in the rehabilitation efforts in the country. The U.S government also pledged assistance to Pakistan in the fight against militants domiciled in its territory. The Afghan forces finally took overall military and security operations from coalition forces in 2013.
New elections were held in 2014 and Ashraf Ghani was elected President. However, the conduct of the election was trailed by controversies as noted by international observers. Consequently, power-sharing with Abdullah Abdullah was arranged. As the security situation improved, the U.S and NATO officially declared their combat mission concluded, restricting their new role to the training Afghan forces.
When will the Afghanistan – U.S war end?
As noted earlier, the Afghanistan U.S war started with the invasion on October 7, 2001, and has been ongoing. The war has moved from one phase to another. It could indeed end soon if the timetable for U.S troops pullout announced by President Joe Biden in April is not interrupted. The cost of the war has been enormous. The U.S has spent about 812 billion dollars in the war effort. In addition, 2,312 soldiers have died with several thousand wounded.
“We cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan hoping to create the ideal conditions for our withdrawal, expecting s different result…. We already have service members who were not yet born when our nation was attacked on 9/11. War in Afghanistan was never meant to be a multi generational undertaking.”Joe Biden: President of the United States. April 2021
The resolve of U.S president Joe Biden was firm on the withdrawal of U.S soldiers from the Afghanistan war – America’s longest war after twenty years of involvement. The move generated mixed feelings in some quarters in the U. S and has been strongly criticized by Mrs Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State in the President Barack Obama administration. There will be “huge consequences”, she remarked. ” The end of the U.S deployment could play into the Taliban’s hands”, she further stated.
Many in the foreign-policy establishment across the party divide share her views. Condolezza Rice, former Secretary of State under President George W Bush has warned of attendant risks that are likely to follow the withdrawal of troops and the threat of terrorism. Joe Biden matched his resolve with action as the first troops of the drawdown pulled out of Afghanistan on May 2, 2021. At the Antonin camp in Helmand Province, American forces specifically handed control over to Afghan National Army (ANA).
Two days after the handover in Helmand province, the Taliban launched series of attacks, mounting a huge offensive at the base. Afghan army troops defeated the invading Taliban fighters but the incident lends credence to the fears already voiced by foreign policy experts. Joe Biden announced that the pullout will continue through July and, end in September. The last U.S soldier will leave Afghanistan on September 11, 2021. The date is meant to coincide with the twentieth anniversary of the 2001 bombing of the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon.
How Long Has the US been at war with Afghanistan?
The withdrawal will by September 11, would end America’s longest in history. The move was initiated by former President Donald Trump-led administration. Donald Trump played midwife to the peace agreement between U.S Officials and the Taliban in Doha, Qatar on February 29, 2020. It was titled, “Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan”. The deal had the support of Pakistan, Russia and China.
It also won the unanimous approval of the UN Security Council. By its terms, the U.S and its NATO allies would withdraw their regular troops from Afghanistan. In the second article, the Taliban in return pledged to prevent al-Qaeda from undertaking operations from areas under its control. Talks between the Kabul government and the Taliban would continue until an amicable understanding is reached between the two parties. The terms have been overwhelmingly endorsed by U.S officials in the Biden administration.
It has been a known fact that the U.S forces invaded Afghanistan to prevent al-Qaeda from using its territory for planning and executing them in other countries. The second reason was to exact judgement on al-Qaeda’s avowed leader Osama bin Laden and his involvement in the Afghan war.
Both tasks have been accomplished. Al- Qaeda has been decimated and many of its leaders neutralized. Al Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden has been killed by US special forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan on May 2, 2011. The ISAF and RS allies officially declared combat mission over, withdrew most of their soldiers leaving a few thousand behind to train and advise Afghan forces.
In the past, the President Barack Obama administration officials feared that leaving an ill-prepared Afghan security force behind would create problems for the entire region. Indeed withdrawing troops before now was not considered a priority as it would create a vacuum in the region. The stark reality is that as the U.S contemplates leaving and has in fact begun the process, there is pervasive anxiety over the future of counter-terrorism operations in the region.
The lessons of Iraq are not lost on those who are conversant with the consequences of the U.S withdrawal of its soldiers from that country. There was no adequate planning for unforeseen contingencies. In the end, the US found itself deploying troops afresh to tackle Islamic State jihadists after much mayhem had been wrought on people whose civil liberties the U.S sought to protect in the first instance.
The other source of anxiety is the fate of thousands of Afghan men and women who worked with the American and NATO soldiers and governments. Many served as interpreters. Others were involved in various roles including clandestine operations with foreign governments. Some were reportedly involved in war crimes.
As the American servicemen prepare to leave, a top U.S Army General has admitted that their lives could be in danger. Mrs Clinton has suggested to the Biden administration that an elaborate visa program be put in place to provide for several anticipated refugees. The U.K, France and Germany have arranged elaborate schemes to accommodate Afghans who worked with their security forces.
The fear arising from the present situation is that, as in the past, the Kabul Government led by Ashraf Ghani could collapse after the withdrawal of foreign forces. The Najibullah administration was unable to contain the mujahedeen onslaught after Soviet soldiers withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989. A growing outpouring of two million refugees to Pakistan and a further one million to Iran was recorded.
.Such fears are not far fetched today given the present realities on the ground. Afghan government security forces are believed to have lost control over much of the countryside to the Taliban. The security forces have effective control only in the cities and semi-urban areas in a country where over 60 per cent of the population are rural dwellers.
Islamic fundamentalist practices are largely prevalent in places under Taliban control. Women are seen wearing the veil in schools.
A team of BBC reporters touring rural areas in April 2021 was told by Taliban leaders that, “the government pays the salaries of staff, but the Taliban are in charge”. The reporters also noted, ” a hybrid system in place across the country”. There is palpable fear that the days of brutal Islamic Emirate in the 1990s are about to be re-enacted.
Whichever way it goes the troop’s drawdown has begun and would end in September. By the time the American and NATO forces pull out of Afghanistan, the country would have gone through another phase of its long history of occupation by foreign invaders.