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Afghan campaign in quotes

On the eighth anniversary of the start of US-led military operations in Afghanistan, we chart the course of the campaign with a selection of quotations from all sides.

2001

The US will make "no distinction between the terrorists who committed the attacks and those who harbour them". US President George W Bush, 12 September.

"We will do what we can to minimise the suffering of the Afghan people as a result of the conflict." UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, 4 October.

"It remains our hope that the US and allied action remains clearly targeted." Pakistani official statement, 8 October.

"We have also worked out a strategy for fighting. We will resist America as we resisted the Russians." Taliban spokesman Mullah Amir Khan, 8 October.

"To America I say I swear by God the great... America will never taste security and safety unless we feel security and safety in our lands and in Palestine." Osama Bin Laden, 8 October.

"One by one we're going to find them and piece by piece we'll tear their terrorist network apart." George W Bush, on targeting the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, 8 December.

"The revival of certain industries, the revival of agriculture, schools and hospitals... there is really no area in which Afghanistan does not require assistance." Newly selected Afghan leader Hamid Karzai, 24 December.

2002

"We must first have peace, stabilise peace, make it certain, make it stand on its own feet and then go for justice. But if we can have justice while we are seeking peace we'll go for that too." Hamid Karzai, 14 June.

"We felt that we have had a significant impact on their ability to perform, command and control." US Col Roger King on a claim from al-Qaeda that it had emerged largely unscathed from the US-led campaign, 24 June.

"We told our community that we are not afraid of [George W] Bush's and America's threats... We are continuing jihad against America and all the invaders. We reassure Muslims everywhere that we are abiding by the pledge, and that victory is coming." Purported statement by Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, 13 September.

2003

"If all the world forces of evil could not achieve their goals on a one square mile of area against a small number of mujahideen with very limited capabilities, how can these evil forces triumph over the Muslim world? This is impossible, God willing, if people adhere to their religion and insist on jihad for its sake." Osama Bin Laden recalls battle for Tora Bora in purported audio recording, 11 February

"We demand that Afghanistan's Muslims should immediately leave the ranks of America and the Crusaders, and start jihad against the Americans and its allies. Those co-operating with this infidel intruder and standing with it... deserve to be killed." Purported statement by Mullah Omar, 13 February

"We are at a point where we clearly have moved from major combat activity to a period of stability and stabilisation and reconstruction activities." US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, 1 May.

"President Bush has asked me to come to Afghanistan... to dramatically make the point that the United States, although we may be occupied at present in Iraq, is not going to forget our responsibilities here in Afghanistan. We are able to do two things at the same time." US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, 9 May.

"Radical elements seek to undermine both the transitional government and the reconstruction process... In addition, local struggles for power, fuelled in some areas by the opium trade, are leading to a growing fragmentation of the country." Group of UK charities, 10 August.

2004

"The sands in the hourglass of all of the al-Qaeda senior leadership is [sic] running out." US Lt Gen David Barno, 26 January, on expecting to bring Osama Bin Laden to justice by the end of the year.

"The Taliban are not demoralised. Despair is a sin. The Taliban are united. We are giving the US and the coalition forces a tough time. We are hunting them down like pigs." Mullah Omar, 12 April

"Corruption is widespread and it is a major lubricant for trafficking and illegal activities such as money-laundering." Antonio Maria Costa, UN drugs control agency head, 1 June.

"The Americans are hiding in their trenches and refuse to come out to face the mujahideen, as the mujahideen shell them, fire on them and cut roads off around them." Al-Qaeda deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri in a video aired on 9 September.

"Our fight against terrorism is not over, although, God willing, terrorism as a devastating phenomenon is no longer a serious threat to our country's stability." Hamid Karzai, 28 December.

2005

"It has shocked me totally... We want the US government to take very, very strong action." Hamid Karzai on allegations of abuse by US troops in Afghan prisons, 21 May.

"The country has now gone through a presidential election and parliamentary and provincial elections and we were able to make those [army] adjustments." Donald Rumsfeld on plans to reduce US troop levels from 19,000, 21 December.

"Taliban are all over Afghanistan. They may be more in some provinces and less in the other, but their support is growing." Taliban spokesman Mullah Akhtar Usmani, 15 June.

"The Islamic administration is, thanks be to God, still present - it controls large parts of the east and south of Afghanistan and is waging a sustained guerrilla campaign against the crusaders and apostates." Ayman al-Zawahri, 24 December.

2006

"[George W] Bush said: 'It is better to fight them on their ground than they fighting us on our ground.' In response to these fallacies, I say: 'The war in Iraq is raging, and the operations in Afghanistan are on the rise in our favour, praise be to God.'" Osama Bin Laden, 19 January

"It's not a matter of if they are brought to justice, but when," George W Bush on al-Qaeda leader Bin Laden and Taliban head Mullah Omar, 1 March.

"For two years I have systematically, consistently and on a daily basis warned the international community of what was developing in Afghanistan and of the need for a change of approach in this regard." Hamid Karzai on increasing violence in Afghanistan, 22 June.

"We have to stay the course and we will stay the course - and we will prevail." Nato Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, 3 October.

"The enemy will have to quit the region with humiliation and disgrace. Afghans have a history of expelling their enemies as no enemy and invader has quit Afghanistan willingly." Message attributed to Mullah Omar, 29 December

2007

"It is my strong opinion that the final answer in Afghanistan will not be a military one and cannot be a military one." Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, 8 May.

"Taliban are not interested in government posts - ministries or anything. We want the withdrawal of foreign forces and we stand by our position." Taliban spokesman, 30 September.

2008

"We cannot afford to lose Afghanistan... Whatever the cost, however difficult, we cannot afford it, we must win." George W Bush, 2 April.

"What they certainly may do is start to provide some of those resources that would have come to Iraq to Pakistan, possibly Afghanistan." US Gen David Petraeus on al-Qaeda, 20 July.

"There is neither joy nor sorrow among our ranks by the election of Barack Obama. The question is not about a change in the face of the American president, but a change in American policy. Talks can only be held on the condition that all American and coalition forces are withdrawn from Afghanistan." Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, 5 November.

"If I hear from [Mullah Omar] that he is willing to come to Afghanistan or to negotiate for peace... I, as the president of Afghanistan, will go to any length to provide him [with] protection." Hamid Karzai, 16 November.

2009

Afghanistan has "not received the strategic attention, direction and resources it urgently requires". US President Barack Obama, 18 February.

"How could Afghans consider this an Afghan process when, contrary to all their national traditions... it is planned by the Americans, financed by the Americans?" Taliban statement calling on people to boycott August's presidential and provincial elections, 30 July.

"What we need to do is to correct some of the ways we operated in the past. We need to show the kind of resolve and the imagination in some cases to do this smarter and to do it right." Gen Stanley McChrystal, commander of the Nato-led international force, 19 August.

"If the foreign forces are ready to leave our country and not insist on the occupation, if they want to end the war and look for an honourable exit - then we can help them. But if they insist on continuing the war, we don't have any other way than fighting." Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar says he will not agree to any peace deal unless foreign forces leave the country, 19 August.

"This has to be a point in time in which we begin to write a new chapter based on improved governance, a much more serious effort to eradicate corruption, joint efforts to accelerate the training of Afghan security forces so that the Afghan people can provide for their own security." Barack Obama, 2 November.

"We are certain that Nato member states will take more effective steps to accelerate the readiness of the Afghan National Army and police. This is the only way that Afghanistan's wish for the soldiers of our friends to return to their countries soon can come true, and for the Afghans themselves to take full responsibility of their security… We hope that the Afghan forces will lead the task of security and stability throughout the country in the coming five years." Hamid Karzai, 19 November.

"This is a government based on nothing because of the continuing presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan. Karzai's call to the Taliban to come to the government has no meaning. He became president through fraud and lies." Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid, 19 November.



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