Afghanistan2
Handover ceremony at Camp Anthonic, from US Army to Afghan Special Forces, Helmand province, Afghanistan, May 2, 2021.

The corporate media was forced to admit the obvious by early July. Even before U.S. troops left Afghanistan, the reactionary Islamist Taliban that their invasion overthrew had retaken huge swaths of the country. After 20 years and over $2 trillion spent, Washington faced a massive failure with nothing to show for it but death and destruction.

What apologists for U.S. barbarism avoided at all costs was a tally of the devastation or the lies used to justify it. Corrupt collaboration government officials and their allies have looted the country. Not only the Taliban, but also al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS or Daesh), are stronger than ever.

It will be up to the Left in Afghanistan, the U.S., and around the world to draw the lessons of this history and back the fight of the Afghan people for a better future.

Lies, corruption and imperial hubris.

The invasion of Afghanistan after al-Qaeda brought down the World Trade Center in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001, was always built on fabrications. The “war on terror,” like the “war on communism” before it, was a handy excuse for attacks on whatever targets served U.S. geopolitical interests.

The invasion was not to free the women of Afghanistan or install democracy, as advertised. It was about political hegemony over this key country at the crossroads of the Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia — and about war profiteering. Now Washington’s relations with countries surrounding the “Graveyard of Empires” are worse than ever. The only success was enriching the enormous military industry.

In late 2019, the Washington Post printed the Afghanistan papers, some 600 interviews with insiders to the occupation. They revealed how Republican and Democratic administrations alike systematically lied about the huge sums wasted on corruption and empty “development” schemes. The total failure to bring peace or prosperity was well known but covered up.

Throughout, war crimes were committed with impunity by U.S. and NATO forces and their installed government (See “War crimes and civilian casualties in Afghanistan,” by Left Radical of Afghanistan, or LRA, at socialism.com). Barack Obama explicitly declined to investigate George W. Bush’s policy of widespread prisoner torture. In November 2019, Donald Trump had the gall to pardon two soldiers for war crimes, one convicted in U.S. courts and another before even standing trial.

Devastation wrought.

According to the Costs of War Project at Brown University, some 241,000 people have died in Afghanistan and Pakistan due directly to the violence of the war. Several times that number have died from lack of food and water or other indirect causes. Among the dead are more than 71,000 civilians, 78,000 Afghan soldiers, and 84,000 opposition fighters. The deaths of U.S. and NATO troops and military contractors number 7,522. Tens of thousands on all sides have been wounded.

There are 2.7 million UN-registered Afghan refugees. Most are stuck in camps with no hope of permanent settlement. Over 2 million people are internally displaced within the country.

Eteraz monthly is a collaboration by Afghan radicals, including LRA. Recent journal articles, reprinted at socialism.com, describe dire conditions for women and youth. Violence against women is at an all-time high, not only in rural areas dominated by Islamist forces, but also in large cities under government control.

Women and girls are not allowed to go to school in Taliban-controlled areas. Media reports say that three female journalists, a woman physician and two female judges have been assassinated since the beginning of 2021. In May, a school bombing in Kabul killed 85 girls, most of them Hazara Shiites, an ethnic and religious minority.

As for youth, Eteraz reports that about 70% of the population is under the age of 22, and schools have been closed throughout the country during the war. Many Afghans are illiterate, and the numbers are much higher for women and young people. All the factions in conflict, including the government, target unemployed and impoverished youth for recruitment. With an unemployment rate estimated at 72%, options are few beyond taking up arms, getting into the opium trade, or attempting to flee the country.

A Taliban takeover or civil war seems imminent. Either way, women and religious and ethnic minorities are in serious peril.

Looking forward.

Even by the probably rosy estimates of the Pentagon, the Taliban took over a third of the country between the beginning of May and early July. The U.S. played a key role in creating the disaster it is backing away from. To engineer the overthrow of a Soviet-backed government in Afghanistan during the 1980s, Washington funded the mujahideen (precursors to the Taliban), spawning the spread of right-wing Islamic fundamentalism throughout the region. Now it and its NATO allies are cutting their losses and leaving Afghans to pick up the pieces.

In early July, defiant women took up that challenge. Demonstrations of hundreds of women armed with assault rifles broke out in the north and central areas where the Taliban have been conquering territory and reinstituting heavy misogynist restrictions. The Guardian quoted a marcher who is head of the women’s directorate of Ghor province saying that while some women’s protest may have been symbolic, others “were ready to go to the battlefields.”

Afghan women, youth and poor people, and the Left that defends them, urgently require international solidarity, especially from socialists in the imperialist heartland. People in the U.S. can begin by demanding that their government pay war reparations and provide real reconstruction aid, no strings attached, to Afghanistan!

Send feedback to the author at FSnews@socialism.com.

Freedom Socialist newspaper, Vol. 42, No. 4, August-September 2021 www.socialism.com


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One Comment

  1. samir sardana says:

    THE RISE OF THE TALIBAN AND AN ISLAMIC EMIRATE IS THE HARBINGER OF DOOM FOR INDIA !

    ALICE CANNOT WALK IN WONDERLAND ANY MORE !

    THE TALIBAN HAVE DESTROYED THE INDIAN CHABAHAR PROJECT IN IRAN AND THE FANTASY DREAMS OF THE INDIAN LOGISTICAL CORRIDOR TO CENTRAL ASIA

    INDIA IS A BANANA REPUBLIC,run by a dishwasher’s son,which is being used like a puppet and guinea pig,by the USA.The GOI could not protect their assets in Afghan and Iran – will these weasels stand up to PRC ?

    Taliban has doomed Chabahar and will use the Indian Roads to choke Kabul,get supplies and earn valuable toll revenue – via Zaranj,as a 1st point.What has India Built the infra for ? For PRC to evacuate the rare earths and minerals from Afghanistan ? The Afghans are seeking Indian help – but the weasels are still not send their Airforce,let alone send the army !

    The Indian weasels did the same with Najibullah – they let him be killed !

    On top of that,the PRC aid to Iran has completely destroyed Chabahar – as Indian aid is not required any more! What were the Indian weasels thinking ?

    The Indian weasels were played by Iran and the US.1st he Iranians signed the MOU with the Indian weasels – and the US gave the nod for the 2 berths at Shahid Besheti.The Indian fools thought that the Indian diplomats had conned the US ! Then the Indians were played by the Iranians,to sign the MOU for the Rail link to Zahadan – and again the US appeared to blink.Then again the Indian Duds signed a MOU,for the Chabharf SEZ.

    Iranians know that Indians are weasels and lapdogs of the US – who stopped the Oil imports,did not condemn the assassination of Qasim and the Mossad killings of Iranian N-Scientists in Iran ! They know the worth of the Indians ! Still they signed the MOUs !

    Y ?

    The Iranians KNEW that the Indian weasels will NOT build the rail line or start the SEZ – due to US sanctions ! WHICH FOOL WILL START A UNIT IN CHABHAR SEZ,IF THE US IMPOSES SANCTIONS ON THAT CORPORATE – EXCEPT CHAIWALA OF INDIA ?

    It was to get a lever to PRC to INVEST in IRAN ! The aim was to get the US + INDIA sanction,for Chabhar,and then use that as a warning bell to PRC,to get them to invest.THE IRANIAN PLAN TO USE THE PRC was ONLY TO KILL CHABHAR,as it was THREAT TO GWADAR,and it was an Indian INT listening post on Gwadar. and Balochistan dindooohindoo

    PRC is the natural ally of Iran – and with Bandar Abbas,in the Persian Gulf (and a UAE dispute),access to Iranian Ports for PRC,is the perfect hedge to Gwadar,and also,to optimise the costs of the North-South and Central Asian Corridors.Iran also needs to sell Oil in Yuan,with banking facilities from PRC – so that several nations in the world – can buy Iranian Oil and settle payments in Yuan and LCs.USD is the Achilles heel of Iran.

    Similarly,the Iranians sought equipments from India,for the 2 berths in Chabhar – which Iran cannot import,as they are expensive, and Iran has no USD,and no banker in US/EU will accept Iranian Bank LCs.So they wanted the Indian Duds,to buy the equipments and give the USD loans to Iranians,to buy the equipments !

    THE BEAUTY IS THAT THE 1O YEAR LEASE OF THE 2 BERTHS IN CHABAHAR TO INDIA,IS COMING TO AN END AND IRAN WILL GET ALL THE INDIAN INVESTMENTS FREE OF COST !

    The Iranians knew from Day 1 that Chabahar was doomed ! They used the stupid Indian Diplomats to con the US – albeit in the short term.CHAIWALA thought that he could sleep with Netanyahu,and still cut deals with the Persian Shias – this is the DNA of sons of dishwashers,surrounded by fools and sycophants ! Imagine the Utopian paradise in which the Chaiwala and his mandarin monkeys reside !

    The US could have said NO on Day 1 – but they did NOT ! dindooohindoo

    Y ?

    They wanted to show the Indian duds their place ! Just like Blinken came to India – and for the 1st time in decades,a US SOS excoriated the CHAIWALA’s record,on HUMAN RIGHTS AND FREEDOM OF SPEECH – IN DELHI ! AND THEN HE GENTLY REMINDED THE INDIAN LAPDOGS – TO FALL IN LINE,AS FAR THE ANTI-CHINA COALITION GOES !

    NET RESULT – INDIANS ARE DOOMED IN PERSIA,AFGHANISTAN,LANKA ,MYANMAR AND PAKISTAN.THE ONLY NATION LEFT IS BANGLADESH !

    JUST LIKE THE INDIANS INVESTED MONEY TO EXPLORE A GAS FIELD IN the IRAN ,AND THEN IRAN KICKED OUT ONGC (AFTER HITTING THE GAS JACKPOT) !

    PEOPLE SAY Y ? Y ARE THESE INDIANS DUDS – BUT STILL SUPREMELY CONFIDENT OF THEIR DIVINITY ?

    I present the words of Al Beruni

    The Hindus believe that there is no country but theirs, no nation like theirs, no kings like theirs, no religion like theirs, no science like theirs. They are haughty, foolishly vain, self-conceited, and stolid.

    PEOPLE SAY HOW COULD THE IRANIANS HAVE MADE SUCH AN ASS OF THE INDIANS ? The Persians know the Indians from the time of Cyrus !

    The wisdom of the “children of Cyrus,Darius and Xerxes”,encapsulates the “transcendence of Human thought”, the “Deuterosis of the Dindoo”, as under:

    A “Persian dictionary”,titled “Lughet-e-Kishwari”,published in Lucknow in 1964,gives the meaning of the word Hindu as “chore [thief], dakoo [dacoit], raahzan [waylayer], and ghulam [slave].