Today marks the 10th anniversary of the US-led invasion of Afghanistan. But to be sure, the Afghan people have been enduring war for much longer than 10 years if you include the 10 years of war with the Soviets in the 80s and the civil war that erupted in 1992 when the Soviet-backed regime was routed.
Ten years on from this latest war and things couldn’t be worse. The regime for which the Afghan army is being trained to prop up, has little credibility and authority. It has little credibility because Karzai and his ilk have continued their hold on power through blatantly fraudulent elections in 2009. Thus, soldiers are sent to die for a regime that lacks legitimacy prompting many to avoid battle altogether. Furthermore, the regime has little authority because it simply has little power beyond Kabul. Afghans jokingly refer to Karzai not as the “President of Afghanistan” but the “Mayor of Kabul.”
Furthermore, corruption is rife, leading to mass disillusionment in the eyes of the populace and inefficient government. The regime and the Afghan army are largely manned by minority groups, which has further isolated the Pashtuns, who form the backbone of the resistance to the regime and ISAF. The poppy industry, also, has boomed since the war began. Lastly, many Afghans believe that the continued presence of the US-led forces in Afghanistan has more to do with pressuring Iran on its nuclear program and building pipelines for the export of Central Asian oil and natural gas than anything else. All this has contributed to the resurgence of the Taliban and an endemic of violence that has claimed the lives of thousands of Afghans who have known war for too long but have never gotten accustomed to it. 10 years on, the war is more a disaster now than anytime before.
Here’s a video to mark the occasion.