Sunday, September 04, 2011

Afghanistan: A Decade Of Promises

In Afghanistan, Reviewing A Decade Of Promises

September 2, 2011 - People living in Afghanistan 10 years ago had little electricity, few radios and almost no televisions to alert them of the Sept. 11 attacks in New York and Washington. The news didn't really reach across the country until the American bombing campaign and invasion began a month later. The fall of the Taliban regime at the end of 2001 and the flood of international aid raised hope in Afghanistan.

With a U.S.-sponsored government setting up in Kabul, President George W. Bush spelled out America's pledge to Afghanistan in a speech at Virginia Military Institute in April 2002. Bush invoked America's patron saint of nation-building, George Marshall, the World War II general who oversaw the reconstruction of Germany.

"By helping to build an Afghanistan that is free from this evil and is a better place in which to live, we are working in the best traditions of George Marshall," Bush said.

To Afghans, this Marshall Plan for their country sounded like a promise underwritten by the most powerful nation on Earth. Bush listed how the U.S. would help; below, along with each pledge, NPR assesses progress in each area, 10 years on.

Building Security Forces

Bush: "Peace will be achieved by helping Afghanistan train and develop its own national army."


But she admits that in some ways, Afghanistan is still behind where it was decades ago, before three successive wars destroyed the country.

"Sometimes I am disappointed. Because when I was in 5th [grade], the war start in my country. Now I am 43 years old, still the war is going on. I wish that my country become secure. No more than that," she says.

Afghanistan has hundreds of kilometers of new roads, but fewer of them are safe to drive. On the day Burhani spoke with NPR, an insurgent suicide bomber leveled a health center in Logar province, killing dozens of patients, doctors and nurses.

The United Nations reported over the summer that civilian deaths from the war are at their worst level since the invasion — the vast majority from insurgent bombs. listen to and read more>>>

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