A small group of rebels—poorly armed yet fearless—stood up against a nation. The mujahedeen, who renounced their lives to resist the Soviets, won the hearts of Americans who were quick to provide them with weapons and training. Later, members of the mujahedeen would form the Taliban, and then turn those same weapons on Americans.
The rebellions sweeping through Libya bear a discomforting resemblance to when U.S.-backed rebels toppled Afghanistan’s Soviet-backed Najibullah government in 1992. A civil war ensued, the Taliban took power, and the United States returned in 2001 to fight a war that lasts to this day.
While Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is launching airstrikes and hiring mercenaries to crush his own people, rebels are again calling for aid in toppling a regime.
The United States and NATO, meanwhile, are on the fence, uncertain of what their support could create.
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