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A Decade On, Afghans Protest U.S. ‘Occupation’

‘Ten years since the invasion, all we have seen is suffering, instability and poverty in our country,’ rally organizer says

Image: An Afghan man shouts anti-U.S. slogans at a protest in Kabul
An Afghan man shouts anti-U.S. slogans at a protest in Kabul on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011. (Photo credit: Ahmad Masood / Reuters)


October 6, 2011

KABUL — Hundreds of Afghans marched through Kabul Thursday — the eve of the 10-year anniversary of the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan — to condemn the United States as occupiers and demand the immediate withdrawal of all foreign troops.

About 300 men and women gathered early in the morning with placards and banners accusing the United States of “massacring” civilians while denouncing President Hamid Karzai as a puppet subservient to Washington.

“Occupation — atrocities — brutality,” read one sign, held aloft by two women with scarves covering their head and face.

“No to occupation” said another placard, as a U.S. flag was set on fire. Another banner featured a caricature of Karzai as a glove puppet holding a pen and signing a document entitled “promises to the USA.” …

“Ten years since the invasion, all we have seen is suffering, instability and poverty in our country,” said protest organizer Hafizullah Rasikh.

One picture that featured prominently was that of U.S. soldier Andrew Holmes posing with the corpse of an unarmed teenage Afghan villager who he had gunned down.


This image shows the body of Gul Mudin, the son of a farmer, who was killed on Jan. 15, 2010. (Photo credit: Der Spiegel; photo not part of accompanying Reuters/MSNBC report)

He was sentenced to seven years in prison for the 2010 murder.

This year has seen record levels of civilian casualties and although about 80 percent were caused by insurgents, killings by foreign forces tend to spark more vocal public anger.

The United States bears the brunt of criticism of the Western presence in Afghanistan.

“The bloodshed I see in this country is the result of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. After the invaders leave, our country will be peaceful,” shouted one man on a loudspeaker.

Full story

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Related report

Afghanistan: What have we achieved? What’s next?
(Jim Maceda, NBC News World Blog, Oct. 7, 2011)

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Related reports on this site

Image: An effigy of President Obama is burned during a protest in Afghanistan
Protesters chant anti-American slogans and burn an effigy of President Barack Obama in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2009. (Photo credit: Rahmat Gul / AP)

Many Veterans Sour on Iraq and Afghanistan Wars (Oct. 5, 2011)

Afghanistan Worn-Out Welcome (Nov. 21, 2010)

Afghanistan War Cost Too High (Nov. 13, 2010)

‘Making Enemies’ in Afghanistan (April 12, 2010)

Afghan War Deadlier Than Ever (July 31, 2010)

America’s Longest War (June 7, 2010)

Afghan Support for U.S. Plummets (Feb. 10, 2009)

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FROM THE ARCHIVES

One Year Ago — October 8, 2010

U.S. Missile Strikes in Pakistan

One year ago today, I reported that the United States, continuing a surge in CIA-run, drone-fired attacks, conducted two missile strikes in the northwestern Pakistan tribal region along the Afghan border, killing nine suspected militants.

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Two Years Ago — October 8, 2009

Afghan War Expands to Region

Two years ago today, on October 8, 2009, I reported that there were indications Afghanistan could become the theater for a proxy war between nuclear-armed neighbors India and Pakistan.

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Three Years Ago — October 8, 2008

Iraq Anti-War Letter Prescient, 6 Years On

Three years ago today, on October 8, 2008, I republished an Oct. 8, 2002 open letter by Michael Livingston outlining why a prospective invasion of Iraq would be a mistake on both rational and moral grounds.





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