Following is an insightful excerpt of an article by Eric Margolis, veteran journalist and war correspondent:
The United States is no longer "fighting terrorism" in Afghanistan, as Bush, Obama and McCain insist.
The 2001 U.S. invasion was a legitimate operation against al-Qaeda, a group that properly fit the role of a "terrorist organization." But, contrary to the White House's wildly inflated claims that Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda was a worldwide conspiracy, it never numbered more than 300 hard core members. Bin Laden and his jihadis long ago scattered into all corners of Pakistan and elsewhere. Only a handful remain in Afghanistan.
Today, 80,000 U.S. and NATO troops are waging war against the Taliban. Having accompanied the mujahidin fighting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan during the 1980's, witnessed the birth of Taliban, and penned a book about the Afghan struggle, I can attest that Taliban is not a terrorist organization as the U.S. and its allies wrongly claim.
Taliban are Pashtun tribes of southern Afghanistan, who make up half that nation's population. The Taliban took up arms to battle the Afghan Communists, stop the wide-scale rape of Afghan women, and halt banditry and the drug trade. Both Pakistan and the U.S. secretly aided Taliban.
By 1996, Taliban took Kabul, driving out the Northern Alliance, the old rump of the Afghan Communist Party and its Russian-backed Tajik and Uzbek tribal supporters. Taliban, most of whom were mountaineers, then imposed a draconian medievalist culture that followed traditional Pashtun tribal customs and Islamic law.