Year 2010 was the deadliest year in Afghanistan for all parties involved. More than 700 foreign military in ISAF was killed in Afghanistan in 2010.
In the first 10 months of 2010, there were 6,200 civilian casualties including 2,400 deaths and 3,800 injuries because of the ongoing violence and increasing use of roadside bombs. A citizen from Kandahar complained as he said; “We are the victims of this war. We have no security. The government should take care of our security. If we only had security, we could solve other problems ourselves”. Even though the country saw some stability and progress in 2010, things can easily change to the worse and the future appears unpredictable.
January 19th, 2010; Deadly attack in Kabul
The attack paralyzed and stopped the life in Kabul for hours as suicide attacks and gun-battles claimed the life of at least 5 people and injured 71 others while fighting with hundreds of Afghan commandos opened fire. The battle happened in middle of Pashtunistan square, a traffic circle near by the Presidential Palace, Ministry of Justice and the Central Bank that was the main target.
February 13th, 2010; Operation Moshtarak
In a pre-dawn surprise attack, NATO’s International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) and Afghan government troops launched the biggest assault in Afghanistan since the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001. 15,000 soldiers arrived to Nad-e-Ali, containing up to 1,000 Taliban fighters. Troops had already been speaking with tribal elders to prepare the way for the invasion but Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef ridiculed the number of troops required by the enemy: “If they need 15,000 troops to take over a small village – what will they need to take over a province which is under the Taliban’s hands?”
March 27th, 2010; US troop’s death doubled 100%
The number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan has roughly doubled in the first three months of 2010 compared to the same period last year. 57 U.S. troops were killed during the first 2 months of 2010 compared with 28 in January and February of last year, an increase of more than 100 percent, according to Pentagon figures compiled by The Associated Press. 20 American service members was killed in March, an average of about 0.8 per day, compared to 13, or 0.4 per day, a year ago.
April 22th, 2010; Afghan Deputy Mayor shot dead at prayer in Kandahar
Azizollah Yarmal was killed while praying at a mosque in Kandahar. The attacks came as NATO and Afghan troops were preparing a major offensive against the Taliban.
May 20th, 2010; Karzai’s corrupt sibling compromises the mission in Afghanistan
One senior NATO official had calculated that the “Karzai cartel” was making more than a billion dollars a year off the Afghanistan war via lucrative contracts and sub-contracting spin-offs in convoy protection, construction, fuel, food and security. Ann Marlowe, a writer and businesswoman based in New York City, travels regularly to Afghanistan and publishes often on Afghanistan’s politics, economy, culture and the U.S. counterinsurgency. Her characterization of the Karzai brothers is draw-dropping as she describes and accuses them of complicity with the enemy;”We are supporting a criminal state in Kabul that is likely involved with the insurgency itself. There is almost nothing to distinguish the Taliban from the Karzai mafias, whose tentacles reach down to the most obscure rural districts. The Afghan state is being hollowed out from the inside and becoming a branch of a lucrative criminal enterprise. Why would the Karzai’s have any interest in defeating the insurgency? They are profiting from it. Once we leave, the cause of expelling the foreign troops vanishes; al-Qaeda has much more of an interest in nuclear Pakistan; and the Karzai’s would likely meet the same end as Najibullah, strung up in the streets, once they lose our support.
June 24th, 2010; the general that said too much
General Stanley McChrystal was fired for disparaging remarks he made about President Obama and his administration. He appeared in Rolling Stone magazine (July 8–22, 2010), where McChrystal and his staff mocked civilian government officials, including Joe Biden, National Security Advisor James L. Jones, US Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl W. Eikenberry, and Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke. McChrystal was not quoted as being directly critical of the president or the president’s policies, but several comments from his aides in the article reflected their perception of McChrystal’s disappointment with Obama on the first two occasions of their meeting.
July 26th, 2010; Wikileaks, Afghanistan files biggest leak in U.S.military history
Wikileaks released 92,000 classified reports related to the Afghanistan war on Sunday that many are calling one of the biggest and most indicting public disclosures of intelligence in U.S. military history. The founder, Julian Assange defended the release of more than 75,000 internal documents on Afghanistan on its website, saying that “the goal was to create a complete picture of the war effort.” The 91,000 leaked US cables showed a less optimistic picture of Afghanistan than what the US and Afghan governments had been trying to project publically. The New York Times reported that the documents: “…illustrate in mosaic detail why, after the United States has spent almost $300 billion on the war in Afghanistan, the Taliban are stronger than at any time since 2001.”
August 7th, 2010; Taliban kill American, British and German medical workers for preaching Christianity
Ten bullet-riddled bodies were discovered in northeastern Afghanistan on Saturday, six of which are said to be American aid workers, while the Taliban claim killing Christian missionaries. The bodies were found in Badakhshan province next to three abandoned, bullet-riddled vehicles. A Taliban spokesperson said the aid workers were killed because they were spying for the enemy and preaching Christianity. A statement on I.A.M.’s Web site said it’s likely the victims were members of the I.A.M. eye camp team. The message also said: “If these reports are confirmed we object to this senseless killing of people who have done nothing but serve the poor. Some of the foreigners have worked alongside the Afghan people for decades. This tragedy negatively impacts our ability to continue serving the Afghan people as IAM has been doing since 1966. We hope it will not stop our work that benefits over a quarter of a million Afghans each year.”
August 23th, 2010; Corruption in Kabul
Karzai’s regime, closest advisers and members of Karzai’s family has been in the spotlight for the huge amount of corruption that is going on in the country. I have also written an article about this subject on my blog;
The corruption is so bad that a majority of Afghans would welcome the return of the Taliban’s Islamic fascism if the only other alternative is continuing to live under the illegitimate Karzai regime’s incompetence and mob-like rule that contains stealing from the already poor citizens.
September 18th, 2010; Vote in Afghan parliamentary elections delegitimizes Karzai regime
The Afghan parliamentary election 2010 was held to elect members of the Wolesi Jirga on 18th September 2010. Reflecting on the previous presidential election, in December 2009, representatives of donor states expressed worries and even suggested that the polls should be postponed because of the fraud allegations on the previous election. On Election Day, 14 people were killed and Taliban also fired rockets in several cities including Kabul and set off bombs at a polling station and by the governor of Kandahar’s convoy.
October 25th, 2010; foreign casualties
Since the US-led invasion in 2001, a total of 2,170 foreign soldiers are killed in Afghanistan and nearly 1,350 of them are from the United States. The numbers were published from the AFP and the website icasualties.org showing that the number of foreign soldiers killed in Afghanistan this year has exceeded last year’s figure of 521.
November 20th, 2010; Withdrawal plans and civilian casualties
NATO announced few days earlier that they will begin to withdraw troops from the front line early next year, and by the end of 2014 they will gradually transfer the responsibility to the Afghan army and Afghan police forces. President Hamid Karzai, who is attending the summit, also agreed that Afghanistan should have security responsibility in the whole country by the end of 2014, and that NATO troops will stay in the country to have a supporting role.
According to NATO, there were 3 civilians killed when soldiers from the ISAF force was fired at the village Tantil in Darah-ye Pech district of Kunar province. Soon after, NATO released a statement;”Three or four shots missed the target, near a village. Three Afghan civilians were accidentally killed and four were wounded”. They also said that they were sorry and tried their best to not harm civilians.
December 27th, 2010; Security deteriorates
Internal UN map that was released shows that security is deteriorating in many areas of Afghanistan over the past year, particularly in the Northeast. At the same time they show that the situation is unchanged in the South, the region that has been the scene of the most powerful fighting between Taliban and foreign forces. A total of 16 districts that were previously considered relatively safe, are now considered high-risk areas. They are located in the provinces Bagdhis, Sar-e Pul, Balkh, Parwana, Baghlan, Samangan, Laghman and Takhar, as well as in Faryab. Only two districts are considered safer in October than in March. They are located respectively in Kunduz in the north and Herat in the west.
After 12 months of bad news, I wanted to make space for the positive achievements in the end of the article. Even though the violence has been worsened and the instability is a major problem, there has been done many positive things but they have been overshadowed by the negative news. Even though Karzai has been accused of many things from corruption to bad leadership, I personally believe that he has much more better intentions as President than his opponent Abdullah Abdullah. He has good intentions for his country and wants it to be stable and secure, but the main problem is his cabinet and network of advisors. Mr. Karzai lacks of good guidance and decent cabinet members, and instead of being too optimistic, he has to be more realistic. On 16 January 2010, the Afghan parliament rejected 10 of the Karzai’s 17 replacement picks for cabinet. MPs complained that Karzai’s new choices were either not qualified for their posts or had close connections to Afghan warlords. Despite the second setback, by mid-January Karzai had 14 out of the 24 ministers confirmed, including the most powerful posts at foreign, defense and interior ministries.
Since late 2001, Mr. Karzai has been trying to seek and implement peace in his country showing an attempt to even pardoning militants that would lay down their weapons and join the rebuilding process, but the offers were denied by the militants. He has after this numerous times tried to set a framework and have a dialogue with Taliban who has rejected this every time. Besides the three days peace conference, Kabul conference was held in July 20th, 2010 showing that the government was taking a lead in efforts to bring a secure, prosperous and democratic future for Afghanistan. Other achievements done by the government can be listed as;
- Created the Afghanistan Land Management Authority (ALMA), which will process the requests of lending government land quicker than before.
- Created the Agriculture Development Fund (ADF), which has already disbursed $10 million for credit to small farmers across rural Afghanistan.
- Completed job training for 375 youth in Kandahar and 1,000 unemployed men and women across ten other provinces.
- Finished plans for 1,100 new schools, so that more children can go to school with the hope to have 400,000 more students by July 2011.
- Increased the knowledge and skills for 9,000 existing teachers to become better teachers by giving them the opportunity to take educational classes.
- Began the identification and revision of the content and materials used to teach students to improve their education in the long-term.
- Identified programs and money to support training for basic health care such as having a community nurse or having someone who can deliver babies has started and implementation plans to complete this process have been written.
- Initiated the screening and evaluation reports for 111 small and medium-sized dams, which when completed can be used for agricultural purposes, create energy, etc. for Afghans throughout the country.
- Completed major improvements on roads, streams, water supplies, lights on the streets, and garbage bins in 19 Guzars of Kabul city.
- Completed the Hairatan Mazar Railway, which runs from Mazar-e-Sharif to the border between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan–this will allow for greater transport of goods from Afghanistan to Central Asia.
- Started the construction of the Maimana, Qali-e-Now, Faizabad, and Chehcheran airports.
- The Pakistani Parliament approved the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA), which will allow easier transport of goods between Afghanistan, Pakistan and the rest of the greater region.
- Completed websites and email systems for 80 government organizations.
The people of Afghanistan are struggling for peace, but those who can bring peace are not the warlords and those with a corrupt mind. They are using the tragic situation today as a profit for themselves and their relatives, while the common man is suffering in many ways. My request from President Karzai is to gather together a strong team with intention for rebuilding Afghanistan and reach out to every citizen.