Nine Afghan Children Killed on School RoadPosted 3 hours ago – November 3, 2019 By Makfax
Nine children were killed when a mine was activated in Afghanistan as they went to school.
It is about eight boys and one girl between the ages of seven and ten.
They set foot on a landmine for which no one has yet claimed responsibility.
According to UN data, 1174 civilians have been killed and more than 3,000 injured in Afghanistan in the past three months.
A provincial government spokesman in the incident, Javad Fayri, said he believed the Taliban had planted the mine.
The Taliban have so far not commented on the case.
The world was dramatically different 18 years ago when the war in Afghanistan started.
Thousands of families were grappling with the deaths of their loved ones in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania on Sept. 11 and the American public was coming to terms with the reality of an enemy unlike any the nation had faced before — a shadowy network of terrorists that orchestrated the worst attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor.
Less than a month after the attacks, on Oct. 7, 2001, the course of U.S. military operations changed for years to come when Operation Enduring Freedom officially launched, with then-President George W. Bush announcing the action during an address from the White House Treaty Room.
Bush said that the operation involved “strikes against al Qaeda terrorist training camps and military installations of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan,” and the “carefully targeted actions are designed to disrupt the use of Afghanistan as a terrorist base of operations, and to attack the military capability of the Taliban regime.”
That operation ballooned into a multi-front war on terror that has lasted nearly two decades and sparked criticism for its duration and questions about its mission. Since then, the terrorism threat landscape has evolved, with ISIS and homegrown extremists emerging as dangers.
Security experts appear to agree that original goal of Operation Enduring Freedom seems to have been accomplished, but the question of whether or not America is safer today remains up for debate.
“We’re safer from an al Qaeda attack, a 9/11-style attack absolutely,” said retired Col. Christopher Kolenda, who commanded troops in Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008 and also engaged the Taliban in high-level diplomacy on behalf of the secretary of defense.
“There’s no longer a safe haven in Afghanistan,” Kolenda said, noting that al Qaeda “has been decimated and is on the run and is no longer capable of a 9/11-style attack.”
Vanda Felbab-Brown, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, who studies Afghanistan and terrorism, echoed that sentiment, saying “the fact that the Taliban provided safe haven to al Qaeda in which al Qaeda could recruit, organize, plan, train, made al Qaeda very potent, and that is gone now.”
“In Afghanistan, the Taliban is currently not a threat to the United States, to the U.S. homeland. It clearly battles [the] U.S. military in Afghanistan but is not motivated to conduct attacks against the U.S. homeland and does not attempt to do so,” Felbab-Brown said of the current state of the threat from Afghanistan.
Just last month, the Taliban killed an American, one of among 12 people killed in a bomb blast in Kabul. More than a dozen U.S. servicemembers have been killed in the country so far this year — the highest number since 2014.
Al Qaeda appears to be trying to establish a presence in several countries, “strengthening the network’s global command structure and continuing to encourage attacks against the West, including the United States,” according to the 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment from former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.
Kolenda noted that “al Qaeda is still unable to reestablish a presence in Afghanistan,” but added that “the real question becomes ‘Is the current level of investment in troops and treasure necessary to prevent to a large-scale terror safe haven for al Qaeda or Islamic State, or are there other options’” on how to achieve that goal.
Kolenda pointed to the costly nature – both in terms of lives lost and money spent — of what has now turned into America’s longest war.
“I think those are very significant costs as well to America’s credibility and standing in the world,” Kolenda said.
U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan under Operation Enduring Freedom technically ended on Dec. 31, 2014, but were immediately replaced by Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, where U.S. forces remained in the country to continue the coalition of the NATO-led mission