from AFP:

Afghanistan marks independence day

Afghanistan marked independence day Thursday as the Taliban-led insurgency drags on, with foreign troop deaths at record highs and the government under pressure to honour pledges on corruption and security.

August 19 commemorates the signing of the Treaty of Rawalpindi in 1919, which granted Afghanistan full independence from Britain — though the country was never part of the British empire — after three bloody wars.

The day was traditionally marked by a military parade and other public events, but these were scaled down after a Taliban attack in 2008 that was seen as an assassination attempt on President Hamid Karzai.

Karzai on Thursday attended a low-profile event in Kabul, placing a floral wreath at the base of the marble independence memorial near his palace.

The ceremony was attended by Western dignitaries including the commander of foreign forces, US General David Petraeus, who watched Karzai inspect a guard of honour.

The Taliban, who were ousted in a 2001 US-led invasion and are the main militant group behind a growing insurgency, also marked the day, vowing to defeat the NATO force and calling them “invaders”.

“The Afghan nation has never tolerated the occupation of their country before and will never tolerate it in the future at all.”

It’s been a quiet day for those of us working from home, as government offices are closed. As the article above mentioned, festivities are scaled way down after the assassination attempt 2 years ago. It doesn’t really feel like Independence Day without food (but we’re in the middle of Ramadan) and fireworks (but we’re in the middle of a war zone).

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