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Time to Recommit to Afghanistan's Secure Future

Diplomatic Traffic, By Ashraf Haidari, 8/10/06. Hours after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the international community rallied in solidarity with the United States for a collective response. They traced the source of the terrorist attacks to Afghanistan, a country that after the end of the Cold War had slipped backwards into a medieval nightmare under an extremist Taliban government that actively encouraged Islamic radicalism and terrorism; that made Afghanistan a global base for drug production and trafficking; and that was responsible for smuggling light weapons and illicit goods.  Living under the Taliban regime, the Afghan people suffered from unspeakable atrocities, while state institutions collapsed and the country’s physical infrastructure was completely destroyed. The international impact of Afghanistan's downward spiral was widespread, with 9/11 only the highlight that finally mobilized the world to take action. Before that, proxy conflicts had driven hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees into neighboring Pakistan and Iran; exported drugs had killed millions in many countries, while the money earned from those sales had funded the war machine of the Taliban and Islamic militants far and wide. Al-Qaeda freely used Afghanistan as a base to target American assets worldwide — including the bombing of the USS Cole in October 2000 and the American Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. 

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