Twenty years after bombing its way into Afghanistan with the promise of ending Taliban rule, running al Qaeda out, and defending women’s rights there, the U.S. is scrambling to leave. The Afghan government, a creation of US fantasy, has collapsed; the Taliban is back in power. having accumulated most of the weapons the US littered the country with. Losses to the people of Afghanistan are incalculable, and in no way over.
NO ONE who is paying attention should be at all surprised, even though we remain outraged at the murderous US response to 9/11. The imperialist aims of the U.S. blind its leaders so that they are shocked when they don’t prevail.
What if we look at the situation as seen by those targeted by US invasion?
10 years ago, after 10 years of the American war on Afghanistan, the Afghan leader Malalai Joya toured the U.S. sponsored by World Can’t Wait and other anti-war groups. She spoke on why she opposes both the US occupation, and the Taliban, and accused the US of throwing backing and weapons to the US-backed warlords of the Northern Alliance who had also terrorized the people, and especially the Afghan women.
Ten days ago she was interviewed by The Independent identifying the American military as the root cause of many problems and a “cancer” to her country., “Get rid from my country. They are a cancer in the body of my society, in the body of my beloved country,” she says. “They are like Covid-19.” “The catastrophic situation of women was a very good excuse for the US and Nato to occupy our country, and replace the barbaric regime of the Taliban with the warlords,” she said, and went on to explain that while some few projects in cities did help women, much of the money designated for such projects disappeared, and women outside the cities were left out.
Anand Gopal, who reported from inside Afghanistan for years, wrote a prize-winning book, No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War through Afghan Eyes. Interviewing a Taliban commander, a US backed warlord, and a woman caught between two sides, he shows how the combined ignorance and arrogance of US military planning made the failure of the U.S. occupation predictable from its beginning.
The 2001 attack on the people of Afghanistan was unjust, illegitimate, and immoral, and the takeaway lesson is NOT that the U.S. should have “stayed” this ugly course. We’ll have a lot more to say on this, but share this, posted on revcom.us recently:
U.S. Pullout from Afghanistan: Three Lessons and Two Basic Points of Orientation. In 2001, fanatical Islamic fundamentalists hijacked several airplanes and flew two of them into the World Trade Center, a massive office complex in New York. The center was destroyed and nearly 3,000 people were killed. They also attacked the Pentagon, headquarters of the U.S. Defense Department. In response, the U.S., under Republican President George W. Bush, declared war against the government of Afghanistan, which had allowed the group that had done this—al Qaeda—to stay in their country. The Afghanistan government was headed by a fanatic and repressive Islamic fundamentalist group, the Taliban.
This qualitatively intensified a dynamic identified by Bob Avakian:
What we see in contention here with Jihad on the one hand and McWorld/McCrusade [increasingly globalized western imperialism] on the other hand, are historically outmoded strata among colonized and oppressed humanity up against historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system. These two reactionary poles reinforce each other, even while opposing each other. If you side with either of these “outmodeds,” you end up strengthening both.
While this is a very important formulation and is crucial to understanding much of the dynamics driving things in the world in this period, at the same time we do have to be clear about which of these “historically outmodeds” has done the greater damage and poses the greater threat to humanity: It is the historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system, and in particular the U.S. imperialists. Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:28
The article concludes with two lessons: One: People cannot allow themselves to be drawn into crusades by the imperialists in the name of supposedly ending one form of oppression while defending and strengthening another form of the same oppression. As the crucial quote from BA at the top of this article drives home, this is a bloody dynamic that only strengthens oppressive relations overall. And the only way to begin to break this dynamic is by firmly opposing one’s “own” imperialists when they launch any war, whatever their excuse.
Two: What we here in the imperialist countries must do is not only oppose these wars launched supposedly to implant “democracy,” but we must boldly instill in people everywhere a spirit of welcoming the defeats of these oppressors in trying to carry out these vicious schemes.
See latest post of Monday August 16 from revcom.us
As the Taliban Take Over Afghanistan and America Is Driven Out in Defeat…WHERE DO THE INTERESTS OF HUMANITY LIE?
A closing message from Malalai Joya: “We are the ones with the responsibility to be fearless, to be tireless, to be more active, to work for the other people and to lead them in the right direction.”