10 years ago, the then US President George W. Bush announced a war operation against Taliban in Afghanistan.
The reason for the operation was Taliban’s refusal to extradite Osama bin Laden, the leader of the international terrorist network “Al Qaeda” and the main organizer of the 9/11 attack – probably the most large-scale terror act in history.
At first, the US role in Afghanistan was limited to supporting the so-called “Northern Alliance”, the main Afghan force which stood against Taliban, with airpower and missile shots. However, when the main part of Afghanistan was freed from Talibs, international forces were introduced there. At present, Taliban doesn’t rule Afghanistan any more, but the remaining terrorists are still leading a guerilla war against their both local and Western opponents.
The killing of Osama bin Laden, which took place on May 2 this year, can be called a serious success of anti-Taliban forces. However, recently, General John Allen, who commands international forces in Afghanistan, said that these forces would stay in the country even after 2014, though, earlier, President Obama has said that they would be withdrawn before 2013.
The Afghan war has already cost the US many human lives – and a lot of money. At a recent meeting in Brussels, US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said that the US cannot support NATO’s budget any more, because EU countries are cutting their expenditures on defense, and the US itself has cut its defense expenditures by $ 450 bln in the last 10 years.
By October 1, 2011, the international coalition has lost 2,747 servicemen in the war against Taliban.
According to the UK newspaper “Independent”, 14 to 34 thousand Afghan civilians were killed in this war.
The exact number of the killed Taliban militants is unknown. Western sources speak of “tens of thousands”.
In an interview to the “Rossiya 24” TV channel, the head of the Russian anti-drug service Victor Ivanov said that the volume of heroine production in Afghanistan has considerably grown since 2001.
“This war has three results, all very sad,” Mr. Ivanov said. “First, the production of drugs in Afghanistan grew by as many as 40 times. That’s an unprecedented figure. Second, the region is now stuffed with military bases and foreign troops – over 150 thousand servicemen, which makes the situation highly explosive. Third, Afghanistan is still very politically unstable, and the number of militants is constantly multiplying there.”