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US set to lose the war in Afghanistan just like USSR did 20 years ago?

Updated on March 11, 2010

In 1979 the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. That war had started because Afghanistan had (and still has) important strategical location and USSR was seeking to strengthen it's positions in the region. At the time the country was ruled by Marxist government but was loosing it's support against Islamist Mujahideen Resistance who were becoming more powerful and were supported by US, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and other Muslim nations. The Soviets were going to restructure the country: along with communist regime they were going to bring electricity and clean water to Afghan homes, build schools and hospitals, but still most of population were very hostile to Russians. This war had lasted for 10 years and USSR had to withdraw its troops as it was clear that they will never win this war and it was a significant moment leading to the collapse of this superpower.

US and its NATO allies started a war campaign against the Taliban in October 2001 after 9/11 attacks. The Taliban emerged in the early 1990s following the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan and basically it was the same Mujahideen Resistance that US was supporting 20 years ago. Within weeks, US-led troops and local fighters forced the Taliban from Kabul and drove them from power, but Taliban supporters have regrouped and it seems that key Taliban leaders like Osama bin Laden are still alive. Years of fighting have left Afghanistan in ruins and international donors have poured billions of dollars into the country, but still the authorities have limited power outside Kabul and Islamic militants, warlords and the booming drugs trade are the greatest threat to country's stability.

In current US war in Afghanistan there are many striking parallels. For example, USSR was supporting communist regime back in the days, and today US is trying to bring democratic reforms to the country. But it's not what Afghans want. US just like USSR does not have anything to offer to local population. All they want is to keep their traditions, customs and current social order. These people are not interested in progress and the problem is that Westerners think that they can change or somehow help Afghanistan. Afghanistan just does not want it. They will reject America just like they rejected the Soviets.


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