As of today, the US military has been fighting in Afghanistan for 9 years and 50 days—exactly as long as the Soviets did during their doomed campaign to turn the country into a socialist state. Analysts say that while the Soviet invasion and the NATO campaign have very different goals—and body counts—it remains to be seen whether the final outcome will be the same. More than a million civilians were killed during the Soviet campaign, while fewer than 10,000 have been killed by NATO forces, an Afghan analyst notes.
"There was indiscriminate mass bombardment of villages for the eviction of mujahedeen," he tells the AP. "Civilian casualties are not at all comparable." A Russian analyst, however, draws parallels between the American and Soviet exit plans. The Soviets left behind a trained and heavily armed Afghan military, as NATO plans to, but it was defeated by insurgents 3 years after the Soviet exit. The Soviet-chosen pro-Moscow leader, Mohammed Najibullah, ended up being hanged in Kabul's main square by the Taliban.
(Read more Taliban stories.)