AFGHANISTAN WAR: A 10-year history lesson
Announcing the start of the military onslaught against Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001, President George W. Bush warned Americans that their patience would be tested “in the months ahead.”
Ten years on, there are more than 10 times as many U.S. troops there as when the war began. And a majority of Americans now say the war is not worth fighting.
The Afghan war and the devastating events of 9/11 are entwined in the minds of Americans. But, as the Los Angeles Times reported on the 10-year anniversary of those devastating attacks on U.S. soil, public knowledge among Afghans of the link between Sept. 11 and today's war is hazy.
Almost half of the population of Afghans is younger than 15 and have little or no firsthand memories of the day. Older Afghans seem to feel the war, which ended Taliban rule, has moved beyond its original intent.
President Obama plans to withdraw 10,000 troops from Afghanistan this year. Meanwhile, critics point to the cost of the conflict, not only in dollars -- $1.28 trillion -- but also in lives: 1,801 U.S. troops killed.
Afghan deaths were not reliably counted in the first years of the war. But the U.N. says 11,221 civilians have been killed since 2006, 1,462 of them in the first six months of this year.
-- Los Angeles Times
Photo: Nasir Aqa brings meals to Afghan troops three times a day. The second-grader fired an assault rifle for the first time when he was 7, but he hopes Afghanistan's more than two decades of war will be over by the time he is old enough to be a soldier. Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times