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By Steven Otfinoski

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Is a dreadful loss for the memory of mankind,” said UNESCO director general Koichiro Matsuurra. In Afghanistan, anyone who broke the Taliban’s draconian laws was harshly punished. “In October [1996], one woman had the tip of her thumb cut off for wearing nail varnish and another was whipped with a car antenna for letting her burkha slip. . ” wrote one foreign correspondent. ” Many others accused of breaking Taliban law were executed before 20,000 to 30,000 spectators in the National Stadium in Kabul.

Angry and frustrated, the United States and the UN imposed trade sanctions and weapons embargoes on Afghanistan through the summer and fall of 1999. S. servicemen killed, the United States threatened to attack Afghanistan if bin Laden was found to be behind the bombing. THE NEW INVADERS (1979 TO THE PRESENT) ■ 35 But as the year 2000 came to close, few Americans were concerned about events in Afghanistan. S. election in 100 years, from which Republican George W. Bush (b. 1946) finally emerged as the surprise victor (he was inaugurated on January 20, 2001).

The mujahideen’s refusal to participate in the negotiations and the Soviet’s reluctance to withdraw more troops from Afghanistan slowed down efforts to end the war. Najibullah Takes Over In May 1986, Babrak Karmal was replaced as secretary general by the former head of the government’s secret police, Major General Mohammad Najibullah (1947–1996). Trained and supported by the Soviet secret police, the KGB, Najibullah attempted to rally more of the population behind his government. In November 1987 he drafted a new constitution that called for the participation in government of non-Communist political parties.

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