American soldiers marked the anniversary of the September 11 attacks in Kabul. A sombre occasion, it is almost seven years after George Bush declared war on al-Qaeda and the Taleban.
The war continues to rage on despite a presence of 30,000 US soldiers, aided by a further 40,000 Nato forces. Since the US invasion, 517 US soldiers have been killed in fighting with the Taleban. Violence is increasing and becoming more spectacular.
A total of 525 troops in NATO’s coalition have also been killed since an insurgent offensive began.
The coffins of 10 French soldiers caught in an ambush in the Uzbeen valley in August. According to the French government the majority of insurgents, who carry out these kind of strikes, are non-Afghans — a worrying sign for the Americans and their allies.
Experts credit the return of the Taleban to support from al-Qaeda. Building up sanctuaries in the remote Afghan-Pakistan border region, the Islamist network has deepened its alliances with militant Pakistanis.
Seven years after the 2001 invasion, al-Qaeda still thwarts the US, posing the biggest terror threat according to US security agencies. As a result, it arguably represents a failure in US relations with Pakistan, given special status of ‘Privileged Ally’ by Washington in its war against terror.
But, for some, the Islamist resurgence in Afghanistan is also partly the result of the war in Iraq. Critics accuse the Bush administration of negligence through its diversion of troops in 2003.
After years of al-Qaeda violence in the country, attacks have fallen considerably in the last few months. That permits Bush to withdraw 8000 US personnel in the months to come.
President Bush said: “As we learned in Iraq the best way to restore the confidence of the people is to restore basic security, and that requires more troops. “I’m announcing today additional American troop deployment to Afghanistan.’‘
Since January 2008 more than 900 Afghan civilians have been killed attacks. Military blunders, such as in Azizabad in the province of Herat, have also cost lives. On 9th September an American raid gone wrong killed 90 women and children.