Katy Stockmeier, 5, wanted nothing more than to go to the county fair and enjoy some delicious cotton candy. Unfortunately, Taliban fighters 9,000 miles away in Afghanistan had prevented her from doing so. Marine General Bill Hodges had called the situation unacceptable: "Freedom isn't free. If we want to live in a world where our children can ride ponies and play carnival games, our only choice is by taking the fight to the enemy and crushing them."
The long, bloody campaign began in late February and ended just last week. The objective was to weaken the Taliban by capturing a series of heavily-defended stongholds in mountainous region of Tora Bora. While US forces sustained nearly1,000 dead, Taliban losses were estimated at 4,000.
Human rights groups have criticized the US military for failing to keep accurate tabs on the number of civilian casualties, which have been estimated as high as 2,500. Amnesty International Spokesman Dennis Morgan condemned the action, asking "explain to me again how exactly this helps children?"
In spite of its losses, the Taliban remains defiant. Taliban commander Faisal Khan issued a statement: "Hear this, American swine: so long as a single infidel remains in our lands, your children will be unable to cavort playfully in the pit of balls. With the help of Almighty Allah, we will slaughter your armies and paint the mountains and valleys with your blood. And so long as we live, you shall never enjoy the taste of chicken wings and cold beer! Muwhahahahaha!"