Afghanistan, the mountainous, landlocked country and crossroads of several empires also has the reputation for being the Graveyard of Empires.
MSF Hospital after the airstrike in Kunduz, Afghanistan
Civilians hit hardest by air strikesFourteen years after the U.S. invaded and occupied Afghanistan, the country is still reeling from an ongoing war that has exhausted and physically damaged Afghan society. The Afghan army had recently been successful in removing Taliban forces from the city of Kunduz in Northern Afghanistan. However, the victory was short live when Taliban forces regrouped and attacked Afghan soldiers now fighting to hold onto Kunduz. Unable to wait for the Afghan army to finish their operations against the Taliban, the U.S. Army carried out an airstrike in Kunduz against Taliban forces. The airstrike hit a MSF (Medecins Sans Frontieres) hospital killing doctors, staff and patients who were being treated for wounds and injuries from the recent battles between the national army and Taliban. Around 22 civilians have been burned to death leading the UN to declare the U.S. airstrike as a war crime. Already strained by limited resources and staff, MSF said it would no longer be working in Kunduz and have called for an investigation into the bombing. The U.S. military has offered to investigate itself, a common tactic used by Israeli Defense Force when its called out for committing war crimes. MSF doesn't trust the U.S. probe fearing that the investigation would not be on the aside of the MSF patients. Civilian deaths are ongoing consequences from the NATO bombings and airstrikes. NATO bombed Libyans during the Libyan 2011 conflict, US led coalition notoriously killed and tortured hundreds of thousands Iraqis and now is bombing Syrians. Afghan civilians have very few safe havens not involving long treks or travels from provinces to the capital. There are nearly 1 million Afghan refugees living in neighboring Pakistan, over 800,000 Afghans are residents and refugees in Iran and another 847,000 civilians living as IDPs across Afghanistan. Afghan families and individual people have joined the half a million migrants on a half around the world journey to Europe.
War against agriculture and poppy cropsThe Afghan capital Kabul may be secured with help of Afghan national army and occasional assistance from coalition troops, but the countryside has been devastated. Afghan society is mostly rural and relies on agriculture to sustain itself. Farming has become challenging with military strikes and raids against terrorist groups in civilian villages. Farmlands and fields are littered with landmines left over from recent wars and going back to the 1979 Soviet invasion. Children have lost limbs and died from accidentally stepping on landmines in spite of education on landmine safety and clearance. Some Afghan farmers have turned to poppy seeds to grow lucrative opium crops once considered illegal under the Taliban. Afghanistan is one of the major exports of opium and it is near Asia's infamous Golden Triangle known for its illegal drug trade. The U.S. war on drugs in Mexico/U.S. and counter narcotics operations in Afghanistan have been carried out to halt the drug trade, addiction and deaths in the United States. Afghan farmers equally rely on poppy seed and opium crops to earn their living and sustain their families. As the adage goes with relations to drugs and wars.
Afghan War What about the Civilians? RT News
While U.S. and its NATO allies are striking Syria and Iraq to end ISIS' brutal regime and growth, Afghanistan is also witnessing airstrikes to halt the Taliban from reemerging as the main political power in the mountainous country. There is fear by Afghan government that ISIS inspired groups might claim a foothold in the country. Like Gaza, Afghanistan outside of Kabul, has been bombarded, under siege from drones, collective punishment from U.S. airstrikes and heavy military artillery, Taliban and Al Qaeda bombings and forceful rule not to mention targeting civilians from children to adults in near daily violence. Going to school in Afghanistan has become a fight to outlive the bombings and fires from military and terrorist groups. The Kabul government is protected more than ordinary civilians outside the fortified walls of the government palace and ministries. Even the Afghan Parliament isn't spared from the violence.
Soviet Invasion War in Afghanistan: Soviets against the Mujahideen 1979-89
The Afghan people have been worn down by destructive wars beginning in 1979 with the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan. The U.S. backed Mujahideen were able to push the secular government of and the Soviets out of Afghanistan. No matter the view of communism, Afghanistan under the pro Communist leadership in the 1960s-1970s was secular, modern and developing toward a progressive society. A rebellion by the Khalqi-Parcham factions fighting for political power would lead to the Soviet invasion a year later. The Mujahideen transformed over time into Al Qaeda and the Taliban who ruled the country from 1989-2001 using a strict wahhabi interpretation of Islam that pushed Afghan women and girls to the edge of society and life. . Afghan society (especially rural areas) itself has been dislocated from its once embedded secularism into an ultra Conservative wahhabi religious based on divisive tribalism. Afghanistan is known as the crossroads and the graveyard of empires. Everyone from China to Russia and U.S., West and Alexander the Great have all failed to fully control and rule it without facing mass resistance and being defeated by geography.