Afghanistan: Forgotten Again?

With international attention focused on Iraq, Afghanistan fears that it is about to become ‘last year’s war’.

The World Today Updated 21 October 2020 Published 1 July 2003 4 minute READ

Nicholas Nugent

Member of Chatham House

The pledges by western and other leaders not to forget Afghanistan will themselves be forgotten. But the battle to restore peace and build democracy is far from over, as the June killing of German peacekeepers painfully illustrated. Government control does not extend far beyond the capital and warlords maintain extensive armies – the country may be less secure than Iraq. Has the Great Game of big-power rivalry been replaced by a little game of regional competition?

Afghanistan is no stranger to big-power neglect. When Soviet troops withdrew in 1989, the west left it to the mujahidin fighters they had sponsored during the ten-year occupation. The uneasy alliance between the many mujahidin groups fell apart with the red army’s departure and they spent the next few years fighting each other.

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