Afghanistan. According to Countryaah official site, foreign governments with soldiers in Afghanistan talked more and more specifically about troop retrieval before the planned total retreat in 2014. During the year, the United States began to reduce its force by 10,000 men and President Barack Obama promised that the 30,000 sent as reinforcements in 2009 would return home in the summer of 2012. Sweden prepared a reduced effort in 2012 with the goal of having only 200 people left without conflicting information from 2014. Canada took home its last 3,000 men in July. During the year, Afghan associations began to take responsibility for security in a number of provinces and major cities.
While the country’s allies began planning for their troop retreat, they pledged to continue assisting Afghanistan for at least ten years from 2014. At a conference in Bonn in December, President Hamid Karzai promised in return that he would step up efforts against corruption, strengthen the rule of law and improve population protection.
At the same time, it was obvious that conditions in the country were rapidly deteriorating. It was not only the Taliban who became increasingly daring in their attacks. Now, attention has been increasingly focused on the Haqqani network, a militia that was supported by the United States during the war against the Soviet Union in the 1980s, but which is now close to the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
The United States accused the Haqqani network of being behind both an attack on a major hotel in Kabul in July and an almost 24-hour attack in September against the US embassy and NATO headquarters in the capital. In both cases, dozens of people were killed. Among other US Defense Forces Mike Mullen claimed that the Pakistani military intelligence service ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) was also involved in the embassy attack. At the same time, high-ranking US officials confirmed that there were contacts with both the Taliban and the Haqqani network.
In July, President Karzai’s brother Ahmed Wali Karzai was murdered in his home in Qandahar. Shortly thereafter, the mayor of the city was shot dead and a few months earlier Qandahar’s police chief. In July, one of the president’s closest advisers was also murdered and in September former President Burhanuddin Rabbani was killed during an exploratory peace meeting with the Taliban. The interior minister escaped an assassination with his life in October.
In August, the United States was hit by its worst individual hardship during the war when a helicopter was shot down and 31 soldiers were killed. Shortly thereafter, the British Council cultural institution in Kabul was attacked by a suicide bomber. A traditional council bill, Loya Jirga, which gathered in Kabul in November, supported President Karzai’s ambitions to seek a ten-year “strategic partnership” with the United States after 2014. But the meeting’s demand for cooperation should be entirely on the Afghan’s terms is going to be difficult for the United States to join.
During the year also came several reports from the UN and human rights organizations, such as Oxfam and Human Rights Watch, about Afghan security forces’ assault on civilians and the incidence of torture in Afghan prisons and detention. In the first three quarters of the year, according to the UN, the number of acts of violence in Afghanistan increased by 39% compared to the same period in 2010. And it was the civilians who suffered the most. At the beginning of 2010, the organization Afghanistan Rights Monitor summed it up as the worst for the civilian population and in July the UN found that the number of civilians killed had increased by 15%, to 1,462, in the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2010.
Opium production, which largely funds the resistance movements, increased sharply again after a decline in 2010 caused by a plant disease. First and foremost, it was said to be prices that increased opium cultivation by 61%.
Domestic politics also sharpened the contradictions. President Karzai was forced in August to dissolve the disputed special tribunal he created to deal with controversies surrounding the 2010 parliamentary elections. At that time, Parliament had refused to approve the Tribunal’s decision that 62 newly elected members should be excluded because of electoral fraud. When the Independent Electoral Commission regained the right to decide the issues of dispute, it rejected the nine members’ incursion, but neither did Parliament want to accept it.
A more organized resistance to Karzai began to emerge at the end of the year when two new parties with a number of well-known members among the members were formed.