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U.S. invasion dethroned Taliban but peace yet to be seen in Afghanistan

While offering prayers at a grave of a victim of the U.S. bombardment of Dasht-e-Bari village in eastern Afghanistan, villager Hajji Aseel whispered with sorrow that Afghans "are still suffering" although the Taliban reign was ousted by the U.S.-led military invasion 16 years ago.

Recalling his recent but bitter memories of violence in his locality, the dejected man uttered that the "U.S. bombardment of the Dasht-e-Bari area in Khalil Abad village" on the outskirts of Pul-e-Alam, the capital of Logar province 60 km south of Kabul, had left 11 persons dead and 16 others injured in late August.

"My cousin is buried here," the praying Aseel said sadly, pointing at a recent gravesite while lamenting that the endemic war claims the lives of Afghans almost every day.

In the wake of the al-Qaida attacks on New York and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001, the U.S.-led military coalition invaded the Taliban regime on charges of harboring Osama Bin Laden, the then leader of the al-Qaida network and ousted the fanatic regime in Afghanistan within weeks.

The collapse of the al-Qaida-backed Taliban regime and the deployment of more than 100,000 U.S.-led coalition personnel in Afghanistan had raised the ray of hope among Afghans for a better future.

Contrary to experts' predictions and Afghans' hopes for the return of lasting peace, Afghanistan is still burning in the flames of war between militants and the U.S.-backed Afghan security forces.

Recalling the recent attacks on his village, Aseel, 50, said one day in late August U.S. fighter jets were flying over Dasht-e-Bari village when a Taliban insurgent opened fire. The aircraft in retaliation bombed the village, killing 11 villagers, including women and children, and injuring 16 others.

"The women and children were not Taliban," a depressed Aseel said, adding that the Taliban militants had fled the area after firing in the air without damaging any of the aircraft.

Aseel, who lost some of his nearest and dearest, including his cousin, in the incident, said he has lost hope in the future.

"Since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and the toppling of the Taliban regime, I have seen no change in my living condition. Amid ongoing fighting and incidents of violence, we have no permanent jobs and no regular income," Aseel said morosely.

"The continued conflict and chaotic situation has claimed the lives of our people, including our family members and friends," he sighed.

The Taliban regime collapsed under the U.S.-led military invasion in late 2001. However, militants loyal to the ousted Taliban regime staged a violent comeback in 2006 and since then the hardliner group and some 20 more like-minded outfits have been fighting tooth and nail to evict the U.S.-led forces from Afghanistan to re-establish their own regime.

Although the living condition of people in big cities, including Kabul, has been better and the security situation has been stabilized, the ongoing militancy and counter-militancy often claim the lives of people elsewhere in the insurgency-plagued country almost everyday.

"Instead of bringing positive change to our living condition we have been regularly suffering and our people are being killed almost every day, either by the foreign forces or by Taliban rebels," Mohammad Yusuf Zadran, 38, another resident of Dasht-e-Bari, lamented in talks with Xinhua in his village.

[Source: By Abdul Haleem, Xinhua, Kabul, 11Sep17]

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War in Afghanistan & Iraq
small logoThis document has been published on 18Sep17 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.