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Afghanistan - The Toughest Battle
Afghanistan - The Toughest Battle
As the battle for Afghanistan rages Al Jazeera has a series of reports from the country.
Last Modified: 15 May 2007 12:32 GMT

Almost six years after the Taliban were overthrown
the nation of almost 30 million is at a crossroad
Almost six years after US-led forces overthrew the Taliban regime in Afghanistan the nation of almost 30 million is at a crossroad.

Civilian deaths are on the rise as Nato and US troops together with Afghan forces attempt to stunt the growth and popularity of an invigorated Taliban.

As the battle for Afghanistan rages on Al Jazeera English is live in Kabul with a week of special coverage including exclusive reports, guests and analysis.

This is Afghanistan

Afghan students march during
anti-US protests [AP]
 
This is Afghanistan - a nation of at least thirty million people, desperately poor, but rich in history, culture and pride.

For centuries Afghanis have defended their homeland, successfully repelling powerful foreign armies.

The most recent campaign; a US-led war with the Taliban which began almost six years ago and eventually led to a democratically elected government.

But as people here grow tired of the rampant corruption and politician's unfulfilled promises, this war ravaged nation once again finds itself at a junction; embrace the resurgent Taliban and hope their strict rule can bring stability, or persevere with the government and accept, at least for the moment, that means the presence of foreign soldiers in their country.

Occupying forces

There are more than 13,000 US
troops in Afghanistan [AFP]
The international military alliance Nato has a large presence here.

With up to 30,000 troops on the ground their official role is to help secure the nation by training Afghan security forces.

More than 13,000 US soldiers carry out operations independently of Nato. Both are seen as occupying forces by many here.

The Afghan army is expected to number up to 70,000 in just three years time.

Together with up to 62,000 police officers they are expected to eventually take full control of security.

Bloodiest year yet

There were 139 suicide attacks
last year [ EPA ]
 
But they are facing a growing challenge.

In 2005 there were there were 25 suicide bombings in Afghanistan, according to Human Rights Watch.

But last year there were 139 - a more than 5-fold increase.

A senior Taliban leader has told Al Jazeera they have 2000 suicide bombers ready to go, to make 2007 the bloodiest year yet.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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