As an aide and one-time spokesperson to the former president of Afghanistan, many journalists and observers of Afghanistan ask me why the recent peace deal between the Afghan government and a hardline Afghan militant group, Hizb-e-Islami (HIG), wasn't brokered under Hamid Karzai?
Is it a positive development for the country and will it have any impact on the security situation in Afghanistan?
With winter approaching in Afghanistan, Taliban militants there seem more determined than ever to expand their influence across the country.
On Friday, the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan announced that it was sending Western advisers to Farah province, a rural area just northwest of Helmand Province, to buoy Afghan soldiers there battling the insurgent group.
Last week marked the fifteenth anniversary of the US invasion of Afghanistan, the longest war in US history. There weren’t any victory parades or photo-ops with Afghanistan’s post-liberation leaders. That is because the war is ongoing. In fact, 15 years after launching a war against Afghanistan’s Taliban government in retaliation for an attack by Saudi-backed al-Qaeda, the US-backed forces are steadily losing territory back to the Taliban.
Source: Common Dreams
Fifteen years ago this week, the US launched the longest war in its history: the invasion and occupation of remote Afghanistan. Neighboring Pakistan was forced to facilitate the American invasion or ‘be bombed back to the stone age.’
When the United States went to war in Afghanistan in the fall of 2001, the impetus and aims seemed clear. “Make no mistake,” President George W. Bush told reporters on September 11, “the United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly attacks.” Within days, American bombs began to rain down on Kabul, Kandahar, and Jalalabad, in an effort to smoke out Osama bin Laden and cripple the Taliban regime that harbored him. In a matter of weeks, Kabul had fallen to coalition forces, the Taliban were on the run, and Hamid Karzai was sworn in as the leader of a new interim government. A swift victory appeared all but assured.
The longest war in United States history has warranted barely any mentions during the presidential or vice presidential debates. Afghanistan was discussed once in passing during each event, even though the U.S. has spent hundreds of billions of dollars on the nation over 15 years and it is unraveling faster than ever.
This week, October 3, 2016, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) was remembering one of the darkest moments in its history.
On 3 October 2015, U.S. airstrikes killed 42 people and destroyed the MSF trauma hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan.
One year after the MSF hospital massacre, nothing has changed.
"You should be cursed with your bombs which lead to the suffering of the people of Kunduz and covered them with blood and dust," was the last sentence of Dr. Ehsan Osmani adressed to the Afghan government and its American backers, written one year ago on his Facebook feed. During the next moments, Osmani has been killed by one of the U.S. bombs which has been dropped on the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in Kunduz.
There is an end-of-an-era feel here these days. Military helicopters rattle overhead, ferrying American and Afghan officials by air rather than risk cars bombs in the streets. The concrete barriers, guarding against suicide attacks, have grown taller and stronger around every embassy and government building, and whole streets are blocked off from the public.
Heavy fighting between Afghan security forces and Taliban militants is taking its toll, as large numbers of casualties across the country are pushing recently trained Afghan air medical evacuation crews to their limits.