Afghan Taliban Taunts US on Anniversary of Soviet Withdrawal

Posted February 15th, 2012 at 6:45 pm (UTC-5)
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The Taliban used the 23rd anniversary of the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan to taunt the United States, saying it faces the same fate.

In an e-mailed statement to the media Wednesday, the Taliban said “On the occasions of the anniversary, selfish Americans must learn a lesson from the embarrassing defeat of the Soviets and no longer fight a meaningless battle with zealous Afghans.”

The statement continued “Today's American occupying invaders and their coalition allies are facing the same defeat the Russian invaders faced in the past.”

The anniversary is celebrated as a public holiday in Afghanistan. Television channels repeatedly showed footage of the humbled Soviet army retreating across the border 23 years ago.

The Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979 to prop up a communist government of President Noor Mohammad Taraki. Their withdrawal a decade later lead to the collapse of the communist regime and a vicious civil war, and paved the way for the Taliban's rise to power in 1996.

The U.S.-led coalition invaded Afghanistan in late 2001 to topple the hardline Islamists and to hunt for al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden after the September 11, 2001, attacks against the United States.

The coalition, which has some 130,000 troops in Afghanistan, is planning to withdraw them from Afghanistan by the end of 2014 and hand security over to the Afghans.