In a scene now not unfamiliar to Wall Street bankers in New York, residents of Kabul watched hundreds of Afghans march against the United States government on Thursday.
Protestors in the capital demanded the immediate withdrawal of all American and NATO troops from Afghanistan. The demonstration came one day before the tenth anniversary of the beginning of the War in Afghanistan.
The United States first invaded Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001, less than month after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The conflict became the longest war in U.S. history last year, but President Barack Obama has ordered a troops draw-down and scheduled all U.S. soldiers out of Afghanistan by 2014.
Nonetheless, Afghans in Kabul on Thursday are angry. For those marching, the U.S. has caused more harm than good, despite the expulsion of the Taliban government and the death of Osama bin Laden. Insurgent attacks and suicide bombers are a near daily occurrence in the country, and 1,462 Afghan civilians were killed in the first six months of 2011, according to the U.N. Missing in Afghanistan.
The demonstrators carried signs and chanted slogans like no to occupation, and Americans out. They also carried pictures of those wounded and killed by violence in the country, and burned an American flag.
The United States said it came to help the Afghan people and provide a good life to Afghan people, but their true purpose was to occupy our country, a woman named Farzana told The Associated Press. It is 10 years since the invasion of Afghanistan and all it has left behind is the blood of the Afghan people. We want the U.S. to leave our country.
There are currently close to 100,000 U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, and another 30,000 more from the international coalition, and the force has been transitioning security responsibilities to Afghan forces. The United States will send home 10,000 troops by the end of 2011, another 23,000 by next September and the remaining soldiers by 2014.
Marches and protests will likely be the only celebration on Friday's war anniversary. Neither the United States, NATO nor Afghanistan have officially planned anything to commemorate the day.