Facts about Afghanistan

By Meaghan Murphy

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On Oct. 7, 2001, George W. Bush declared war in Afghanistan.  The mission was clear: find Osama Bin Laden, and put a halt to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.  Now, nearly nine years and 1.09 trillion dollars later, most Americans remain oblivious to what is happening.

Osama Bin Laden, currently number one on Americas most wanted list, was the main target of the war in Afghanistan after the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.  Bin Laden is the founder of Al-Qaeda and part of the Taliban. The Taliban is an Islamist political movement. The members fight a guerilla war against the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Since Afghanistan supplies 90 percent of the world’s opium the Taliban is mainly funded and ran by profits from the opium trade.  The drug trade is what the Afghanistan economy runs on.

Most people believe that if Bin Laden lives, he lives in Pakistan.  This is where the war became unclear. It made sense that if we placed structure and stability in Afghanistan the Taliban and Al-Qaeda would not be able to operate.  On one hand American aid helped, some school systems were built and communities were strengthened.  On the other hand some of the schools are burnt to the ground by the Taliban, police officers and civilians are murdered, and heinous crimes continue to be committed.  It is like a never ending circle, with every good there comes bad.

To this date the current death toll in Afghanistan is nearly 1200 American soldiers. Increasing numbers in roadside bombs and insurgent attacks are contributing to growing numbers of casualties.  Obama stated that he would be pulling troops out in July of 2011.  This is still the plan, yet most are skeptical about this being possible.

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