By Abdul Haleem

KABUL, Sept. 10 (Xinhua) -- "During the Taliban reign in Kabul, my family like numerous Afghan refugees was living in Iran but returned home months after the fall of the regime with the hope of beginning a new life," Jamila, 30, told Xinhua.

The impoverished mother of two, who like many Afghans uses one name, had lost her husband in a suicide bombing in Kabul, lamented that life contrary to her expectations had been shattered due to continued insurgency and poverty.

Overthrowing the Taliban regime by the U.S.-led coalition forces in late 2001, in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S., had raised hope among Afghans for a prosperous future and millions of Afghan refugees returned to their homeland.

Nevertheless, the dreams of many Afghans of embracing lasting peace and leading successful lives have yet to be materialized, due to persistent militancy and extreme poverty in the war-strife nation.

The Taliban regime has already been dethroned, al-Qaida's former leader Osama Bin Laden has been killed, yet Taliban-led militancy and al-Qaida loyalists continue to claim the lives of innocent Afghans almost every day in the poor country.

Living in a rented house on the outskirts of Kabul, Jamila regretted returning here as being a mistake, complaining, "I have lost my husband, I have no job or regular income to support my children."

Following the U.S.-led coalition forces' invasion of Afghanistan and dismantling of the al-Qaida-backed Taliban regime in late 2001, nearly 150,000-strong U.S. and NATO-led forces had been deployed in Afghanistan to hunt down the insurgents.

Billions of U.S. dollars, have been injected by the global community for the reconstruction process of post-Taliban Afghanistan, but the contributions have been embezzled by powerful figures due to mismanagement and has led to the gap between rich and poor widening dramatically.

However, the coalition troops ended their combat mission in December 2014 and scaled down its troops to just 13,000, to train and advise the Afghan national security forces to curb insurgency in Afghanistan.

"The foreign forces' war against terror and contribution of the global community's billions of U.S. dollars to Afghanistan have in part led to corruption, poverty, endemic conflict and bolstered the drug trade," the dejected lady exclaimed, claiming that powerful figures have enjoyed the lion's share from the international community's assistance to Afghanistan but the poor have been forgotten.

"Few people's lives have changed over the past 15 years and the majority are still living in poverty," Jamila remonstrated.

About 36 percent of Afghanistan's some 30 million population, according to officials, are currently living below the poverty line.

Although, Jamila and countless more Afghans including women and children have been suffering from multi-faceted problems including poverty and unemployment in the post-Taliban and post- September 11 attacks, Afghanistan has made tremendous achievements in different fields.

Afghanistan today has national security forces, a parliament, cabinet, judiciary, and women have been serving as cabinet members, parliamentarians, businesspeople, politicians and even singers and actresses in the conservative society.

In spite of some socio-economic progress being made over the past 15 years, the war-torn country is still dependent on foreign aid, and the Taliban and associated groups have been directing their attacks on the cities to terrorize people. And once again women are being confined to their houses, as the militant groups step up their campaigns to recruit more fighters against a backdrop of rising poverty.

"It may seem hard to believe but I literally cannot feed my children properly, even though billions of U.S. dollars have been injected into Afghanistan over the past decade. I am a poor woman and have been deprived of all my rights," Siamoi, 46, told Xinhua, forlornly.

Without revealing her specific ordeal, Siamoi, clearly distraught, said that thousands of women including widows have also been living in misery elsewhere in the war-hit nation.

She said that increasing terrorist attacks, the production of illicit drugs and the rising numbers of drug addicts and the increasing numbers of women begging on the streets, amounted to the real outcome of the so-called war on terror in Afghanistan.

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