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Afghanistan War -- A Saga of Lopsided Death and Destruction

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Message Abdul-Majid Jaffry

The frightening death and destruction that the American civil War brought made General William Sherman, a Union general, say, "War is hell". A U.S. Airforce Commander after the terror bombing of Dresden in the Second World War admonished, "War must be destructive and to a certain extent inhuman and ruthless." When a high-tech mighty war machine is unleashed on a nation in a decrepit state and with a weaker or non-existent military power, the hell becomes more intense and destruction unbelievably more destructive for the men and women of the frail nation.

One of the first major armed conflicts between the two nations after the Industrial Revolution was the Battle of Omdurman in 1898 in Sudan. The British soldiers armed with state of the art of the time gun boats, rifles and machine guns mowed down over 20,000 Sudanese tribesman armed mostly with swords and lances. Sudanese suffered an astonishing 90% casualty rate. British lost only 48 men, amounting to 2% casualty rate. British ultra superior war machinery, compared to the Sudanese swords and lance, was chiefly responsible for the mechanized slaughter of f Sudanese and one of the most lopsided victories in the military history.

Today, history of another lopsided death and destruction in a war is being written. This time it's the poor and helpless Afghans, the fourth or fifth poorest people in the world, are being pounded by the ferocious U.S. and NATO war machine.

Afghanistan is a landlocked and resource poor country. It ranks among the bottom three countries, second only to Niger in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the U.N. Human Development Index in 2009. It had no army or even functioning police before the U.S. invasion in 2001. It had no offensive capability nor defensive mechanism to withstand foreign invasion, not even from a border patrol armed with light infantry weapons. Afghanistan had no significant or insignificant military installations that could have offered high value target for bombing ("I'm not going to fire a $2 million missile at a $10 empty tent and hit a camel in the butt", Bush once said).

The U.S. started the "good war" as Operation Enduring Freedom in October 2001 ostensibly to remove the Taliban from power in retaliation for the attack on the World Trade Center. Taliban were routed soon after the war initiated. In December 2001, International Security Assistance Force was formed, and in 2003 NATO assumed the control of ISAF. Both, the U.S. and the NATO led forces came to Afghanistan equipped with the most sophisticated military technology.

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Retired engineer from aircraft industry and a freelance columnist.
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