Socialist Worker

Afghanistan: the ten-year war that drags on

Issue No. 2268

Western aircraft dropped the first bombs on Afghanistan on 7 October 2001. The US-led coalition’s stated aim was to root out Al Qaida cells said to have found refuge under the Taliban regime.

George W Bush and Tony Blair also declared they would liberate Afghan women, increase literacy and eliminate poverty.

These lies disguised the real reasons for war—regional control and a warm-up for the invasion of Iraq.

At first the invasion was hailed as a great success. It quickly swept out the unpopular Taliban government.

But military victory marked the beginning of a brutal occupation. Coalition forces terrorised the population with air strikes, mass killings and degradation.

The response to this has been a growing insurgency.

A decade on, the occupiers have never bothered to count Afghan fatalities—but estimates suggest that tens of thousands have been killed. And 2,699 coalition troops have died.

Hamid Karzai, the US’s puppet president, presides over huge levels of corruption and is practically powerless outside of the capital Kabul.

Occupying forces try to maintain control in the rest of the country by giving money to warlords and the old elite. Unsurprisingly, this plan has failed.

Despite all the talk of withdrawing Western troops, the war is far from over.

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