Afghanistan. Dark clouds of turmoil towered over the Afghan horizon during the year. The outpouring of international forces was only a little over two years, but hardly any leading politician, NATO military or independent observer believed in the possibility of upgrading the Taliban or other Afghan resistance movements until its military.
In relative silence, there have been contacts between the warring parties for several years to try to find a negotiated solution to the long conflict. It may have happened in 2012, but there were no visible signs of success.
A January release by the Taliban to open an office in Qatar, where negotiators could meet, appeared to run out of sand. The United States did not meet the requirement that Taliban prisoners at the Guant芍namo base in Cuba be released. In the past, attempts to get leading Taliban to the negotiating tables have also been halted by Pakistan, which did not want to give them exit permits to participate in talks where Pakistan would not be represented. Pakistan supports the Taliban but gives the exiled leaders of the movement limited freedom of movement so as not to lose influence. In the late autumn, however, some 20 Taliban were released from Pakistani prisons following the appeal from the Afghan Peace Council, which was believed to pave the way for a dialogue with the movement.
- AbbreviationFinder.org: Provides most commonly used acronyms and abbreviations for Afghanistan. Also includes location map, major cities, and country overview.
Rather, many events earlier in the year seemed to diminish the already weak hope for peace. A movie posted on the Internet that showed how US Navy soldiers urinating on dead Taliban put emotions to the test. Even worse was information that American soldiers had burned a number of copies of the Quran among garbage on the military base Bagram outside Kabul. Protests around the country demanded some thirty casualties.
When an American soldier shot to death in March 16 civilian Afghans in their homes near Qandahar, public confidence in the international force fell further. During the fall, the soldier was brought to trial in his home country and risked the death penalty. The soldiers who burned the Qur’an escaped with a reprimand and those who had urinated on the dead managed with payroll deductions and degradation.
A long series of suicide attacks and dramatic armed attacks were also carried out this year. At the same time, in April, the Afghan Parliament, several embassies, the international military ISAF force headquarters and a hotel were attacked. The fighting lasted for almost a day, demanding over 50 casualties. At least seven people were killed in an attack on a boarding house for foreign staff in May, and in June a hostage frame cost a hotel over 20 people’s lives.
One of the country’s most famous women’s rights activists was murdered in July. Hanifa Safi was blown to death by a charge attached to her car. In May, a defunct Taliban ex-minister was assassinated. Arsala Rahmani was a member of the official peace council started by President Hamid Karzai.
On the other hand, the Taliban were not behind all the assassinations and murders. The so-called Haqqani network is suspected of a large part of the suicide attacks carried out in Afghanistan. The network, which has contacts with both the Taliban and al-Qaeda, has bases in Pakistan and is protected by the Pakistani military intelligence service ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence). In August, Parliament forced President Karzai to dismiss both the Minister of Defense and Home Affairs for failing to stop the Haqqani network’s cross-border attacks. The head of the security service was also forced to resign. The Haqqani network was stamped by the United States as a terrorist organization and included on the UN Security Council sanctions list.
Despite all the attacks that could possibly be seen as natural elements in a hopeless war, NATO forces were particularly concerned by the fact that nearly 50 soldiers were killed by Afghans in soldier or police uniforms during the year. Preparedness was increased at all NATO bases and training of local police forces and the Afghan Army Special Forces was temporarily suspended while the recruits’ background was being reviewed. According to the Afghan government, hundreds of soldiers were suspected of being Taliban infiltrators. Most countries within the NATO-led ISAF force, including Sweden, drew up plans to begin reducing their combat allies as early as 2013. However, financial support for Afghanistan will continue for many years. Sweden promised SEK 8 billion for ten years, making Afghanistan the largest recipient of Swedish aid. In total, the country was promised US $ 16 billion for civilian projects over the next four years at an international conference in Tokyo. The Taliban also have no financial problems. According to a UN report, in 2011 alone, the extremist movement is estimated to have earned the equivalent of US $ 400 million on tax collection and clean mafia operations, such as blackmail against companies, aid organizations and private individuals. In addition, large sums come from drug trafficking.
According to countryaah, the population of Afghanistan in 2012 was 34,413,492, ranking number 40 in the world. The population growth rate was 3.350% yearly, and the population density was 52.7121 people per km2.