Kabul: Hamid Karzai admitted his government
and NATO had failed to provide security to Afghans, who today
marked the 10th anniversary of a war that has cost thousands
of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars.
The President, whose relations with the West have soured
over corruption and violence plaguing his country, made the
remarks 10 years after US warplanes began bombing the Taliban
out of power in the campaign that swept him in.
"We`ve done terribly badly in providing security to the
Afghan people and this is the greatest shortcoming of our
government and of our international partners," he told the BBC
in an interview.
On October 7, 2001, American planes dropped dozens of
cruise missiles and laser-guided bombs on strategic targets in
Kabul and other Afghan cities after the Taliban refused to
surrender Osama bin Laden following the 9/11 attacks.
By December the Taliban were forced out and replaced by
His damning indictment today could not have been further
removed from the hopes of Afghans who poured out of their
homes after the Taliban were ousted to celebrate the collapse
of one of the most repressive regimes in modern times.
The United States then turned to Iraq, committing tens of
thousands of troops and billions of dollars to ousting Saddam
Hussein, and the Taliban began to transform from a rag-tag
bunch of renegades into a well-disciplined militia.
Ironically, some US officials today see a political
settlement with the Taliban as the answer to ending one of its
longest wars in history that outstrips the 10-year Soviet
misadventure in Afghanistan.
Hopes of a deal are slimmer than ever since the
assassination of government peace envoy Burhanuddin Rabbani
last month, but Karzai told the BBC he had not ruled out talks
with the Taliban if a credible representative emerges.
"We have not said that we will not talk to them. We`ve
said we don`t know who to talk to, we don`t have an address,"
In Afghanistan the anniversary passed without public
commemoration by either the Afghan government or NATO, while
on the frontline it was business as usual for the 140,000
foreign troops fighting the Taliban-led insurgency.
In Kabul, daylight passed without the kind of
high-profile attack that has seen the emboldened militants
increasingly destabilise the Afghan capital.
The Taliban marked the anniversary by claiming the credit
for forcing NATO and the United States into declaring plans to
withdraw combat troops by the end of 2014.
At least 2,754 foreign troops have died in Afghanistan.