America’s longest war entered its 12th year Sunday, with the anniversary marked by a Taliban statement claiming that NATO forces are “fleeing Afghanistan” in “humiliation and disgrace”.

The US led the invasion on October 7, 2001 to topple the Taliban government for harbouring Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden after the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington.

The Taliban were quickly routed, but launched an insurgency that grew in strength over the years until NATO had some 130,000 troops from 50 countries defending the Western-backed government of President Hamid Karzai.

The troops have now begun pulling out and all foreign combat forces will be gone by the end of 2014 according to a withdrawal schedule agreed by the US and NATO.

Continue reading on