Kabul: Afghanistan on Wednesday commemorated the
1992 toppling of a Soviet-backed regime, which led to bloody
civil war and arguably to the rise of the Taliban, as the
capital Kabul went under security lockdown.
Helicopter gunships clattered overhead as the Afghan army
staged a 21-gun salute at a sports stadium in central Kabul,
used as a public execution ground by the 1996-2001 Taliban
regime that emerged from the devastating civil war.
It was the first public commemoration of the 1992
overthrow since an assassination attempt on President Hamid
Karzai by gunmen and suicide bombers, claimed by the Taliban,
marred the 2008 event.
Addressing thousands of people including dignitaries who
gathered at dawn for security checks, Defence Minister Abdul
Raheem Wardak, in green uniform with gold epaulets, said: "On
this day the mujahideen prevailed over the evil of communism."
He criticised the international community, which helps
keep President Hamid Karzai`s government in power for not
taking seriously enough the Taliban threat after the 2001
US-led invasion overthrew their regime.
The Islamist militia regrouped and have been waging an
increasingly virulent insurgency, which is now in its ninth
Karzai did not attend today`s parade as he was in Bhutan
for a South Asian security meeting joined by the leaders of
Pakistan and India.