Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Afghan protest demands Nato quit

US troops have occupied Afghanistan since October 7, 2001

Hundreds of people have marched through the streets of the Afghan capital Kabul, demanding the immediate withdrawal of international military forces ahead of the 10th anniversary of the US invasion.

The peaceful demonstration was meant to mark the October 7 invasion of Afghanistan 10 years ago, following the September 11 attacks against the United States.

The US invasion came after Taliban leader Mullah Omar refused to hand over Osama bin Laden.

US forces killed bin Laden in a raid on his hideout in Pakistan in May.

The demonstrators chanted "no to occupation," and "Americans out" as they marched through the streets holding pictures of Afghans killed in violence, and later burned an American flag. The demonstration was organised by a small left-wing party.

No official events have been announced so far to mark the invasion, neither by the government nor Nato.

"The United States said it came to help the Afghan people and provide a good life to Afghan people, but their true purpose was to occupy our country," said Farzana, a 22-year-old woman who goes by one name. "It is 10 years since the invasion of Afghanistan and all it has left behind is the blood of the Afghan people. We want the US to leave our country."

She added that "suicide attacks, insecurity and corruption are increasing day-by-day".

The US-led coalition has more than 130,000 troops in Afghanistan, with about 98,000 from the United States.

International forces have begun handing over responsibly for security to Afghan forces and all foreign combat troops are to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

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