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Boston University School of Law




On October 7, 2001, almost exactly a decade prior to the date of the conference from which the following symposium contributions derive, former President George W. Bush ordered airstrikes on Kabul and Kandahar,' inaugurating hostilities in what has become the longest war in U.S. history. By early December 2001, the Taliban had lost effective control over any significant part of Afghanistan's territory and with it any plausible claim to represent Afghanistan's government under traditional principles of international law.2 President Bush formally declared victory on June 15, 2004, during a speech in which he praised Afghanistan's interim leader and now President Hamid Karzai.3 But in reality the armed conflict that began on October 7, 2001 (and according to some, much earlier),4 has continued without interruption to date; indeed, on the same day President Bush proclaimed victory, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces came under renewed fire in Kabul.' What began as an international armed conflict therefore became, and remains, a non-international - or perhaps what should now be classified as a transnational - armed conflict;6 and the Taliban's soldiers, once Afghanistan's de facto state army, now constitute the chief insurgents with whom both the United States and the Karzai administration, at the time of this publication, appear anxious to engage in peace talks.' The point of emphasis, however, is that hostilities continue unabated.

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