Friday marks the tenth anniversary of the War in Afghanistan, but few in either Kabul or Washington are celebrating. The war, which began after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, has cost the United States nearly $1 trillion and 4,500 soldiers. Likewise, Afghanistan has lost anywhere from 17,000 to 37,000 civilian lives.
While the United States successfully defeated the Taliban government that once ruled most of Afghanistan, there is no peace in the country yet. Insurgents, many part of a newly formed Taliban, attack government building, U.S. and Afghan soldiers, and civilians on a daily basis.
President Barack Obama has ordered that all of the 100,000 American soldiers in Afghanistan be sent home by 2014, placing the task of protecting the country on the U.S. trained Afghan security force. However, many government insiders feel that the U.S. won't be in Afghanistan for just a decade, but probably for years to come.
The State Department is currently trying to negotiate a plan with the Afghan government that would leave U.S. military personnel behind indefinitely.
A lot can be said about the first 10 years of the war in Afghanistan. Throughout the war, Afghanistan has again proved itself to be an unconquerable nation, but the United States has made significant social progress.
Still, the war is far from over, at least for Afghans, whose country will be changed, and changing, for more decades to come.