Boy sells balloons in Kabul after 100,000 American troops are withdrawn. Source:Rafiq Maqbool
To understand the post 9/11 world, it’s important to take a long, thoughtful look at the complicated history of Afghanistan. The proving ground of al-Qaeda, Afghanistan has undergone a constant barrage of civil wars and borrowed weapons, depositions and transitional governments for years- this monarch is ousted by this democrat, who is then assassinated by this Soviet puppet, who is then deposed by this transitional Islamic government. In Afghanistan, it seems that power changes hands every six to ten years, while the people are always the ones enduring the suffering.
The establishment of the Taliban was a symptom of this constant and ongoing political turmoil. Essentially a group of refugees and students, the Taliban were trained by Pakistan’s military intelligence division and armed with Saudi and American weapons for the purpose of eradicating the lingering Soviet presence in Afghanistan. After capturing Kabul in 1996, the Taliban became the ruling party of Afghanistan. Pakistan, seeing an opportunity to have a supportive, complementary government in power next door, continued to cooperate with the Taliban, offering financial support, training, and personnel. This is where things get especially violent and hairy.