TEHRAN, Aug. 30 (MNA) - The political movement of Taliban (“Students of Islamic Movement”) ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001. They came to power through Afghanistan’s long civil war and were ousted in December 2001 by the U.S.-led coalition in response to the September 11 terrorist attack on the U.S.

Due to the policies adopted by the Taliban government -- including their treatment of women and support of terrorists and disrespect of historical artifacts -- they were ostracized by the world community.

However, during their rule they managed to bring law and order in a country in chaos for some two decades. They also managed to eradicate poppy production, which ironically they are using now to support their struggle.

Taliban was one of the mujahideen (“holy warriors”) groups formed during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan from 1979-89. During this time a total of 620,000 Soviet troops were deployed in Afghanistan, with some 150,000 troops serving at one time.

This figure compares to some 145,000 NATO troops deployed in Afghanistan presently, including 78,000 American troops. On top of this number some 30-40,000 private security personnel are also present.

During the Soviet occupation 53,753 or 11.44 percent of the Soviet troops were wounded, injured, or sustained concussion and 415,932 (88.56 percent) fell sick due to acute infections that spread rapidly because of the local climate and sanitary conditions. In addition, the Soviet army lost 14,427 personnel, the KGB 576, with 28 people dead and missing.

The NATO fatalities surpassed 2000 recently since their occupation of Afghanistan in 2001. Over 1,200 of the fatalities included American troops.

After the withdrawal of the Soviet troops from Afghanistan, the worst-case-scenario was yet to come for the Soviet regime. After such loss of human life, material destruction, and the humiliation of withdrawal, the Soviet Union had to face its own downfall, which many analysts contribute to their defeat in Afghanistan.

Next year the U.S. and allies will reach tenth year of their occupation of Afghanistan. During this time the world witnessed the resurgence of the Taliban militants in Afghanistan and an increased sense of lawlessness.

July alone marked the deadliest month so far since the invasion. With 66 U.S. fatalities July surpassed the previous month as the deadliest in the 9-year-old occupation.

According to the independent website iCasualties 1,077 dead were Americans since 2001, and many more injured, amputated, suffering from psychological consequences, such as depression, suicide, making them unable to adjust back in the society upon their return.

There have been many demonstrations organized by the human rights activists, family and friends of the dead and injured, and the general American public who have been tired to see this war drag on, only to get worse.

However, the Taliban have no problem with death, and they turn it into a political weapon. They have learned how to wage a war, and waging war has become their life. They are also not the puppets of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, but rather a deadly threat in their own right.

The U.S. troops are unpopular in Afghanistan and their presence cannot be open ended. The Dutch have already made their exit in July. This will be followed first by many more European allies, as their governments face upheavals by opposition parties and demonstrations at home. Finally the staunchest U.S. ally, the UK, will make an exit soon to be followed by the U.S.

The Taliban will remain. They cannot be eradicated. They are the national resistance movement, just as the Mujahideen were during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. A dialogue with them is essential.

The inevitable withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan and a lack of trained domestic security force will create a power vacuum.

Karzai knows that and he’s been trying to make deals with the Taliban, sidestepping the West in the process. In the past Karzai has even threatened to join the Taliban.

However, due to his cordial relations with the American generals and presidents, pundits believe that Karzai is not the right person to start the dialogue with the Taliban.




News Code 41632

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