(KABUL, Afghanistan) — With virtually no fanfare, Sunday marked the 11th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001, that was launched to destroy al Qaeda training camps and oust the Taliban regime that supported the terrorist group behind the deadliest terrorist attacks on American soil.
While the major missions of the war were accomplished, including the death of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, the U.S. and its coalition still have over 100,000 troops in Afghanistan with no plans to withdraw most of them until 2014.
The Taliban has proven a resilient enemy, which has vowed to never surrender in its goal to destroy the still fragile democratic government, which remains beset by corruption and an unstable security force.
Indeed, the Taliban issued a statement on Sunday to say that “With the help of Allah, the valiant Afghans under the Jihadi leadership of Islamic Emirate defeated the military might and numerous strategies of America and NATO alliance.”
It went on to say, “And now after 11 years of unceasing terror, tyranny, crimes and savagery, they are fleeing Afghanistan with such humiliation and disgrace that they are struggling to provide an explanation.”
In a sign that the U.S. and its coalition allies are stepping back from the fight, fatalities of Afghans security forces are running five times higher than those of their allies this year.
However, so-called “insider attacks” on U.S. and NATO troops have also increased, with at least 53 soldiers having died so far in 2012.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN