Afghanistan Marks Independence Day Amidst Violence

Posted by Han on Monday, August 20th, 2007

Yesterday – August 19th – was Independence Day in Afghanistan. It marks Afghanistan’s liberation from Britain in 1919, following the third British-Afghan war. The Afghan people have fought back so many invaders, it seems they could celebrate it every day.

According to the International Herald Tribune:

Karzai delivered his Independence Day address in a stadium that was the site of public executions during the Taliban’s rule, which ended with an invasion by U.S.-led forces in late 2001. On Sunday, it enjoyed a more colorful atmosphere, with a parade of Afghanistan’s military forces and a display of the country’s many national dresses.

Sadly, in the previous two days, suicide bombers struck in two separate attacks in Kandahar, a foreign aid worker was kidnapped in Kabul, and Taliban leader Mullah Omar called for more attacks.

a montage from footage of our trip to Kabul

Since returning from our trip to Afghanistan, I have been trying to follow the news in the troubled country. I read about the first attack in which a suicide bomber killed a tribal leader in Kandahar. According to The Guardian: “Police spokesman Abdul Ghafar said the bomber blew himself up as Khariudin Achakzai, the chief of Kandahar’s Zhari district, was coming out of his house with five of his children.”

Of course, the ongoing presence of NATO troops – not to mention the continued civilian casualties they have been responsible for – fuels the rage of the Taliban and their supporters. Mullah Omar marked Independence Day by calling for the overthrow of the Karzai government and its “foreign backers.” Hmm, who can he mean?

So much civil unrest in countries throughout the world can be traced to past colonial and imperialist exploits. Iraq is the most obvious contemporary case in point. But the aftereffects of colonialism continue cast a horrific shadow across wide swathes of the entire African continent. And it seems, no corner of the globe has escaped unscathed.

I sincerely hope Afghanistan – and every other nation of people who gather willfully under the same banner – will one day be able to celebrate true independence.

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