Afghanistan, Bin Laden and the hypocrisy of American imperialism

American's role as world policeman is now affecting America in a very direct way. It was America which poured resources into the counter-revolutionary movement in Afghanistan in 1979 at a time when girls still could go the school, and women could work. US imperialism is directly responsible for the Taliban reaction in Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden and his Mujhaeedin were armed and trained by the CIA and Britain's M16, in collaboration with the inter-services intelligence of Pakistan (ISI), in order to overthrow the pro-Moscow government in Kabul.

For the last 21 years we have witnessed the brutal mass slaughter of men, women and children in Afghanistan. Now hungry, war-ravaged, drought stricken Afghanistan is facing a truly horrific situation. The American-imposed sanctions have enormously intensified the distress and misery, and the deteriorating conditions have added a tragic dimension to the situation. Widespread starvation and malnourishment is aggravated by the continuation of a barbarous proxy war, in which foreign powers vie with each other for control of Central Asia and its vast oil wealth, where Afghanistan occupies a strategic position as a possible route for oil pipelines.

As a result, Afghanistan has been turned in to a wasteland. When the Taliban finally took Kabul, they took frightful revenge on their enemies: Najibullah, the former President, was left hanging from a Kabul lamp post with his genitals stuffed in this mouth. By such methods, the "civilised West" and its paid agents achieved their main objectives in this unhappy land.

Many people have been shocked at the media pictures of the unfolding tragedy in Afghanistan. The Taliban regime has carried out a reign of terror, with ethnic cleansing in Bamyan and Mazar-e-Sharif and severe repression against oppressed nationalities and members of other religions, the smashing of statues of Buddha, the public execution of women in Kandhar the whipping...The howling of the oppressed women of Afghanistan reverberates throughout Asia.

The question is: who is responsible for this bloody civil war, all these deaths, the hunger, ethnic cleansing and sheer barbarism? the answer is very simple. It was American imperialism which reduced Afghanistan to the level of the Dark Ages and completely destroyed civilisation there.

The role of American imperialism in Afghanistan

The Stalinist regime installed by left wing army officers in 1978 carried out a series of reforms, including land reform and progressive measures in relation to women and education, in an attempt to drag Afghanistan into the 20th century. This was a mortal threat, not only to the interests of the Afghan landowners, usurers and mullahs, but to the reactionary monarchy of Saudi Arabia and other neighbouring states. For this reason, and for its proximity to Moscow (which had, in fact, played no role in the 1978 revolution), US imperialism was implacably opposed to the new regime in Kabul, which, albeit in a distorted way, stood for revolution. That is why US imperialism deliberately armed, financed and incited a coalition of the most barbarous reaction against the Afghan revolution.

The CIA and its allies mobilised vast amounts of money and weapons to back the Afghan counter-revolution. In the Middle East, the Muslim brotherhood, the Saudi-based World Muslim League, together with Saudi Intelligence Chief, Prince Turki al Faisal, combined to raise huge amounts of funds for the Jihad. They become central to the recruitment and training of mujaheedin from across the Muslim world. The ISI and Jamat-e- Islami of Pakistan set up reception committees to welcome those desperate middle class layers of the youth who had volunteered for the Jihad. The ISI established hundreds of military camps and training centres. General Hamid Gul (former ISI Chief) told a journalist, "We are fighting a Jihad and it is the first Islamic International Brigade in the modern era. The Communists have their International [!], the West have NATO, why cannot Muslims unite and form a common front".

The ISI - under the guidance of their master the CIA - had long wanted prince Turki al Faisal, the head of Saudi Intelligence, to lead the Saudi part of the operation in order to demonstrate to the counter- revolutionaries (the "mujaheedin") the commitment of the Saudi royal family to Islam and Jihad, against the "atheistic communist" Kabul regime.

Between 1980 and 1992 alone, more then 35,000 Islamic fundamentalists from 43 Islamic countries joined the Afghan mujaheedin. Pakistan had already given standing instructions to all its embassies abroad to give visas with no questions asked to anyone wanting to come and fight in Afghanistan. Among the thousands of foreign recruits, one was Osama bin Laden.

In 1986 Osama bin Laden built the Khost tunnel complex which the CIA was funding as a major arm storage depot, training and other military facilities for the mujaheedin, deep under the mountains close to the Pakistan border. Bin Laden once admitted that: "to counter the revolution in Afghanistan, the Saudi regime chose me as their representative in Pakistan and Afghanistan. I recruited volunteers from many Arab and Muslim countries who came to answer the call. I set up camps where Pakistanis, Americans and British officers trained these volunteers. America supplied the weapons, the money came from the Saudis."

It is a fact that after 14 years of bloody civil war the mujaheedin finally took Kabul. But it is also a fact that they did not win a military victory. The Kabul Government collapsed because Moscow withdrew their military aid as part of a compromise with US imperialism, while Pakistan and Saudi Arabia continued their military aid to the mujaheedin.

Without the betrayal of the Russian bureaucracy the mujaheedin would never have been able to take Kabul or any of the major cities, which they had failed to capture in 14 years of fighting. The fall of Kabul represented a victory for Islamic fundamentalism. American Imperialism spent billions of US dollars, and provided generous military aid to the mujaheedin in order to overthrow the Kabul regime. However, even after Moscow withdrew its troops, Najibullah's forces still managed to defeat all the attacks of the mujahadeen.

But the withdrawal of the aid put the regime in an impossible position. The removal of Najibullah by a coup planned by the CIA and ISI prepared way for the capture of Kabul by the mujaheedin fundamentalists. The new regime liquidated most of the progressive reforms of the previous government. But the new government was very unstable from its inception. Immediately fighting erupted between the forces of Hizbe-Islami, led by Gulbadin Hikmatyar and the Jamat-e-Islami of Ahmed Shah Masood. These rival bands of counter-revolutionaries fought each other mercilessly, so that by 1994, when neither side had succeeded in winning a decisive victory over the other, the field was open for the new wave of even more extreme fundamentalist reaction in the form of the Taliban.

The Taliban

The Taliban were the creation of Pakistan military and intelligence establishment, with the active support of the CIA. They were recruited from students in the Islamic schools (madrassas) in Pakistan, and financed, armed and trained by the Pakistan intelligence services - the ISI. Mullah Omar emerged as the main leader of the Taliban with the help of the ISI in 1994 and, in very short period, with Pakistani aid, the Taliban took control of the major cities of Afghanistan. First they captured Kandhar, then Herat, Kabul, Mazar Shareef and lastly Bamyan. But none of this would have been possible without the most active participation of Islamabad - and Washington. It is estimated that the Taliban has received about ten billion dollars from America, which continued to finance them until quite recently. Similar amounts came from the reactionary Saudi regime.

The Taliban entered Afghanistan under the slogan of peace, but soon their peace slogan was translated into the most appalling repression. They closed down schools - particularly girls' schools - and banned women from working outside the home. They smashed TV sets, burnt libraries, plundered historical museums, forbade a whole array of sports and ordered the males to grow long beards. In order to consolidate their hold on power, they encouraged poppy cultivation - i.e. the production of opium and heroin - which is their biggest source of income.

Until 1997, the Americans were silent spectators on human rights issue in Afghanistan. American imperialism was apparently deaf and blind at the time when Taliban was slaughtering women and children in Mazar-e-Sharif, and when they carried out massive ethnic cleansing in Bamyan. When the Taliban began their horrific repression against women in Kabul, Herat and Khandhar, when they closed school, hospitals prohibited music and games, American imperialism not only remained silent but continued to support the Kabul regime.

From the very beginning American supported the Taliban, in pursuit of their own naked self interest. As usual, business interests were involved. US big business is very interested in building a gas and oil pipeline from the Central Asian states through Afghanistan. This conditioned America's attitude to the Taliban regime. UNOCAL, the giant American multinational, arrived at a pact with the Taliban. When the Taliban failed to capture the whole of Afghanistan - specifically the northern region - and failed to defeat the Northern Alliance, the pipeline project went deeper and deeper into crisis. "Deaf and blind" American imperialism suddenly became able to hear the cries of women, and became aware of the repression against the masses.

In order to show their "solidarity" with the oppressed and malnourished Afghan masses, Washington launched a brutal air strike, launching its cruise missiles against Afghanistan and using its tool the "United Nations" to impose section on the country. These sanctions have no effect on the Taliban gangsters but hit the poorest sections of the population, who are struggling just to stay alive. These attacks and sanctions have merely served to strengthen the Taliban, just like the infamous blockade of Iraq, which has caused the deaths of over one million Iraqis, and which has completely failed to overthrow Sadam Hussein.

Osama bin Laden

Osama bin Laden played a key role in the war of the Islamic counter-revolutionaries against the against the Stalinist regime in Kabul, and he received the enthusiastic support of America's CIA. The ex-CIA director William Casey commented on this support for bin Laden in his writings. But many a dog has turned around and bitten his master. After the Soviet Union withdrew from Afghanistan, bin Laden turned his attention to America instead, organising the bombing of US embassies in East Africa.

Overnight the CIA's hero and courageous "freedom fighter" in Afghanistan, has suddenly become the "enemy of civilisation". What has happened between these formerly close allies, and what sort of differences have emerged between them? When he was involved in overthrowing the pro-Moscow regime of Afghanistan bin Laden was the pampered favourite of the American ruling class and the trusty confident of the Saudi royal family. Now all of a sudden he has become a criminal and biggest terrorist in the world! It a is fact that he is a criminal and a reactionary terrorist. But this is not a recent development: it was the case from very beginning when he launched his murderous war against the worker and peasant masses of Afghanistan - with the full support of America.

What enraged the Americans was the fact that, after the end of the cold war, these counter-revolutionaries gangsters and bandits had slipped out of their control. It was not that fundamentalism had changed. It was the same rabid dog as before - but it had slipped the leash! The differences with the Americans came to the surface in 1991, when US imperialism attacked Iraq and some of these Islamic fundamentalists, particularly bin Laden's Al-Qaeda organisation, opposed the presence of American troops in Saudi Arabia. The same fundamentalist fanatics who fought against the Soviet troops as "foreigners in a Muslim country" (Afghanistan), now turned against the USA, using the same logic.

The presence of American troops on Arabian soil accelerated the polarisation among the fundamentalists. The mercenary leaderships of the fundamentalist groups, controlled by the CIA, were passive on the question of the presence of American troops, and thus rapidly lost the support of their rank and file. As a result, more extreme fundamentalist tendencies emerged which escaped from the control of the Americans and their lackey states in the Muslim world.

Washington had sown the winds and reaped a whirlwind. Using the funds and weapons given to them by the Americans and Saudis, the more wealthy and better organised fundamentalist militant groups like Al Qaeda set up base camps in various Islamic countries such as Algeria, Sudan, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Tajikistan and Kashmir. On 23rd February 1998, at a meeting in the Khost camp (built by the CIA) the International Islamic Front issued a manifesto, announcing a Jihad (holy war) against the USA. The declaration stated that for more than seven years the USA had been occupying the land of Islam in the Arabian peninsula. The meeting issued a fatwa (sacred decree), which stated that to kill Americans was the duty of all Moslems. The bombing is US embassies in Africa was part of the Jihad launched by the above-mentioned forces.

Realising they had been betrayed by their former ally and stooge, the fury of the US imperialists knew no bounds. They vented their frustration on the defenceless Afghan people, first bombing and then imposing a cruel regime of sanctions which has brought hunger and malnutrition to millions of men, women and children already traumatised by decades of war. According to the UN, up to four million people may be on the brink of starvation in Afghanistan. And that was before the present crisis. Osama, of course, was unaffected. He merely shifted from the Khost camp to a safe haven in Khandhar, along with his "spiritual friend", the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar.

Terrorism strengthens reaction

The recent terrorist attack on the USA has introduced an entirely different element into the situation. Terrorism is a reactionary method of struggle and it is alien to the class struggle. Marxists and members of the labour moment everywhere unconditionally condemn terrorism - either by individuals or by State. The recent barbaric terrorist attacks in the USA will certainly pave the way for more reaction, and more terrorism in an infernal cycle of action and counter-action. In the short run, this will strengthen the reactionary ruling class of USA, which will find it easier to implement their brutal policies internationally as well as anti-working class policies at home. Individual terrorism will be answered with state terrorism.

Terror has always been used by the ruling class when it was needed. This is no exception. Already Bush has called the events of September 11 "not acts of terrorism but acts of war": in other words he will treat the assaults not as a matter for pin-point cruise missiles but as open war. Who then would be the target of this war? Bush has already answered: "We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbour them." This must mean America is considering attacks on the military bases of the countries that given bin Laden and his like safe harbour: bleeding Afghanistan of course, but also possibly Iraq, Sudan, Syria and Iran, and perhaps even Pakistan, if it refuses to collaborate with his aggressive plans.

Although Washington has produced no proof of the involvement of bin Laden in the latest atrocity, they have nevertheless threatened Afghanistan with attack. This has caused a new and chaotic situation throughout the region. After the de facto American declaration of war against Afghanistan, the UN evacuated all its staff, and foreign NGO members arrived in Islamabad airport on the next flight. Hundreds of thousands of Afghans have started fleeing their country, flooding towards the border with Tajikistan, Iran and Pakistan. The majority of them are moving towards Tajikistan and Iran, because they believe that, in a war against Afghanistan, Pakistan will also be hit by the Americans. Meanwhile, China has closed the borders with both Pakistan and Afghanistan. Pakistan embassy staff have evacuated Kabul. The Pakistan military has tightened the security along the border to stop the entry of Afghans. And on the Pakistan-Afghan frontier tension between the Afghan and Pakistan army is rising to the point where the possibility arises that fighting may erupt between them. Inside Afghanistan, the prices of essential commodities, particularly fuel, have gone up by 50 percent, adding to the misery of the masses. The price of wheat flour, for instance has gone up from 80,000 Afghanis (the Afghan currency) per 7 kg to 120,000 Afghanis.

The Taliban are preparing their forces, and are watching closely the situation in the region. This year military parades in Kabul have revealed that the Taliban still have at least 50 shoulder-fired Stringer missiles. They also have an unknown number of left-over T-59 and 55 Soviet tanks. Other equipment, they hold includes 130-155 calibre artillery, as well as 122, and 107 rockets. They are also equipped with some MI gunships and 12.7 and 14.5 mm anti-aircraft guns. They also posses large numbers of anti-tank missiles. Some MIG and Sakori fighter air-craft are also in their hands.

The US imperialists are hesitating because they fear being sucked into a conflict which can have the most serious consequences for them.

The situation in Pakistan

The situation in Pakistan is now very tense, especially in the North West Frontier and in Balochistan. All major airports in Pakistan are occupied by the army and the US and European embassies are heavily protected. All US and European employees in Pakistan have been evacuated, as well as multinational companies employees.

The military regime - and especially the military establishment of Pakistan - is split on the issue of providing support to the Americans and NATO forces, against Afghanistan. On September 15, the Pakistan National Security Council and Federal Cabinet announced that Pakistan would extend full co-operation with US in case of an attack on Afghanistan. On the same day American Secretary of State Colin Powell confirmed that Pakistan had agreed to all the US conditions in connection to military action against the neighbouring state. These conditions are: the sealing of the border with Afghanistan, the cutting off of fuel supplies to Afghanistan, and permission to use airport and ground facilities in Pakistan. This situation will force Pakistan to walk a precarious tight-rope between two fires. But Islamabad had no choice in the matter: denying co-operation to the USA would mean possible attack from the US military, or at least ruinous economic sanctions, and US support for India over the Kashmir question.

The US suspects that the ISI is behind Islamic terrorist groups, and is no mood to compromise. On the other hand if Pakistan supports an American war against Afghanistan, then there will be massive domestic backlash, which might even turn into civil war, with the possibility that the fundamentalist section of the military establishment - closely aligned with the Taliban - might try to take power. There is a powerful element within the Pakistan intelligence organisation, the ISI, and the army - whose actual size is very hard to measure - whose political and religious outlook is not different from that of the Pakistani Jihad groups or the Taliban.

These fundamentalist groups in Pakistan, up till now have enjoyed the backing of these sections of the military establishment . It is clear that Pakistan used these fundamentalist groups (which have the same central command and are linked to the Taliban) in the Kargil conflict with India in May-July 1999. Harakat-ul-Ansar (HUA) the fundamentalist organisation, which is also "at war" with America, have killed Americans in Kashmir. Now they want to get these groups under control.

There are some 5,900 religious schools all around the country - some 2,500 seminaries are operating in Punjab - 80 in Lahore alone. The Ministry of Interior has established that the majority of these seminaries in Punjab are affiliated with the Deobandi school of thought, with strong political ties with the Taliban. For Pakistan, the issue of banning Laskar-e-Tayyba (LT), Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM) and other fundamentalist groups is not so easy. Banning these groups would cause conflict inside the army. Another problem is that these fundamentalist organisation have their headquarters in military-dominated areas in Pakistan, like Rawalpindi.

Without a doubt, the Pakistan ruling class is now caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. On the one hand, the USA is exercising merciless pressure. ISI Chief General Mehmood Ahmed, who was unlucky enough to be in the USA on September 11, was given a hard time in Washington by Colin Powell and the Pentagon chiefs. On the other, there is the threat from those sections of the military establishment of Pakistan who lean towards Islamic fundamentalism. They are closely linked to the Taliban. Former Chief of the Army Staff Mirza Aslam Baig has given a strong warning to Musharaf that if he allows American troops in Pakistan it will be catastrophic for the entire region as well as for Pakistan. General Musharaf is expected to visit China soon, and it is known that China is very cautious about the actions of NATO and American troops in this region. Most probably, General Musharraf will get a frosty reception in Beijing.

The prospect of war is a nightmare for Pakistan. The Taliban have already issued a statement that if Pakistan gives support to America against Afghanistan, they will declare war. The Taliban have stationed a large number of scud missiles along the Durand line (the British-enforced line which demarcated the border between British-controlled India and Afghanistan), targeting Pakistan. The Taliban, which was built up by Pakistan, now turns out to be a double-edged sword - with the sharper edge directed towards Pakistan. This is Islamabad's reward for the treacherous policy of decades of covert support for fundamentalist reaction in Afghanistan. Finally, the chickens are coming home to roost.

The situation which now threatens will be catastrophic for Pakistan. Millions of Afghan refugees are already living in Pakistan, scattered all over the country. Moreover, on both sides of the Durand line - the 1, 400-mile border with Afghanistan - there is the same people: the Pashtoons. The effects of a US attack on Afghanistan would be very unsettling among the Pashtoons in Pakistan, as well as the Afghan refugees. The national question in Pakistan is not resolved, and is a potential powder-keg.

If the military regime in Islamabad co-operates with the American and NATO forces, the Pashtoon people on both sides of the border will suffer more than any other nationality, which will unleash a wave of anger. This could turn into open revolt against the Pakistani state, which could spread to other nationalities. There is severe repression against the oppressed nationalities in Pakistan, particularly in the South of Baloochistan. It is even possible that the American aggression in Afghanistan could unleash such forces that Pakistan might begin to disintegrate. This would be a nightmare for the workers and peasants of Pakistan.

The masses are still confused and disoriented, but opposition is growing against the military regime and the USA. There is a widespread hostility to US imperialism among the masses. Yet the PPP leadership is in chaos and Benezir Bhutto has compromised herself by backing the regime. For the time being, the fundamentalist groups are making most of the noise, playing on the instinctive anti-imperialist mood of the masses. In the bazaars of Karachi and other cities of Pakistan, pictures of bin Laden are prominently displayed as the "Great Mujaheed" (religious fighter) and people are buying photograph of bin Laden. However, once the working class begins to fight under its own banners and slogans, all that can change. The confused anti-imperialist mood of the masses can be easily diverted into an anti-regime, anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist movement. But for this to happen, proper leadership is necessary.

A dangerous adventure

The Pakistan military regime shows increasing signs of desperation. A delegation lead by an ISI chief was dispatched from Islamabad to Khandahar to plead with the Taliban to hand over Osama bin Laden to the Americans and thus avert the conflict which Pakistan dreads. The ISI chief conveyed the message to the US authorities that a three day deadline would be given to Taliban for handling our Osama bin Laden. But the move failed miserably.

The Taliban regime just used it to play for time: repeatedly denying that they had any involvement in the 11th September events. It was obvious that the Taliban would not been agree to any condition to hand over bin Laden. The only possibility for a capitulation would be a split, turning into to an open conflict among the Taliban leaders on the issue of bin Laden. A council of clerics or Ulema was convened in Kabul to discuss the Osama case, but this was just another delaying tactic, presumably to allow the Taliban to move their people out of Kabul. Finally, Bush lost patience and issued an unambiguous ultimatum. This, in effect, was a declaration of war.

Perhaps even now, there might be some surprise move to avoid a conflict. In the treacherous political quagmire of Afghanistan and Pakistan, almost anything is possible, and everything has a price. But the big question is whether the USA would pay any price. The short answer is no. Washington, which put the Taliban in power, is now determined to oust it. As long as the Taliban control most of Afghanistan, they would not discuss any bargain with the regime. Preparations for war have already commenced.

Pakistan has started blocking the shipment of goods to Afghanistan by suspending the transit trade to that land-locked country. Informed forces claim that the 82nd and 101st airborne US division, which comprises nearly half of the airborne combat forces at the immediate disposal of President Bush are already being airlifted to bases in Pakistan. The bulk of these forces will be moved up to the northern Punjab and take up position near the city of Dara Ismail Khan.

If the Americans start a war with Afghanistan, they will face many difficulties. As Time magazine has pointed out: "American victory in Afghanistan would quickly turn into catastrophic defeat if the war here turned Pakistan, with 145 million peoples and nuclear weapons, in to Islamic fundamentalist state." The Afghan adventure will be fraught with problems. To begin with, it is a logistic nightmare, because the infrastructure of Afghanistan has been totally destroyed by 21 years of uninterrupted warfare. There are no railways and no roads worthy of the name. It would be extremely difficult if American and NATO forces had to operate from afar using air bases outside the country.

Afghanistan is a mountainous land of widely dispersed natural barriers, and not at all suited to a modern hi-tech army like that of the USA. But air strikes alone will not be sufficient to realise Washington's war aims. Ousting the Taliban would probably require a ground invasion leading to the capture and occupation of Kabul and other major cities. That would still leave the rugged countryside where the fundamentalist base camps are located, beyond the American military control.

Ever since the Vietnam war US was always hesitatant about committing ground forces. It is extremely difficult for the American forces to win a war in Afghanistan. Mere control of Kabul has never given any occupier mastery over the rest of Afghanistan. The Afghan people are well trained in guerrilla war tactics as a result of the last 21 years. It is said that the USA is planning to install Zahir Shah, the ex- King of Afghanistan, after ousting the Taliban. One diplomat said, "Zahir Shah we are told is also required so that Afghanistan remains a united and viable country after the US attacks". What a great idea! After the complete annihilation of the country, they want an 86-year old king to build up a new country - on top of a graveyard.

Washington is also trying to base itself on the Northern Alliance. The war between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance intensified after the assassination of the Northern Alliance opposition commander Ahmed Shah Masood. Masood was severely injured after the suicidal assassination attempt and died on 13th September. He was defence minister of the Badakhshah-based united front Government of Afghanistan, headed by President-Burhanuddin Rabbani, which is still formally recognised by all countries apart from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAR). The Northern Alliance forces accused ISI and the Taliban of his assassination.

In his last interview before the attack, Masood correctly pointed out that without Pakistan "the Taliban cannot last for six months". On his last visit to Europe where he addressed to the European parliament in Paris, Ahmed Shah Masood stated - also correctly - that "the Pakistan Military and ISI are behind the Taliban regime". Ahmed Shah also warned America that this time war would not be limited to Afghanistan.

The Northern Alliance controls only five percent of Afghanistan - the rest is under control of the Taliban. On the 11th September after the terrorist attacks in the USA the Northern Alliance used rocket launchers to fire missiles at Kabul. Heavy fighting is going in the northern region. Russia has concentrated troops near the Tajik border, Iran is also increasing its troops close to Afghan border. War fever is reaching a peak throughout the whole region.

Appeal to American working class

The labour moment condemns individual terrorism no matter who is responsible. But one thing is very clear: US imperialism is responsible for Taliban reaction in Afghanistan. They armed and financed the fundamentalists in their struggle against the deformed workers' state in Afghanistan. They are entirely responsible for the present barbarism in Afghanistan. Now their own creation has turned on them. The Taliban, having made use US aid, now no longer prove to be reliable puppets, and are now defying their erstwhile masters.

Marxists condemn individual terrorism, but we also condemn state terrorism, the effects of which are even more cruel and completely inhuman. The Afghan masses are now facing a terrible situation. After the UN sanctions, which have led to untold misery, they are now threatened with bombs and missiles. What is this but terrorism of the worst kind? Yet about this kind of "official" terrorism the United Nations, the Human Right Groups, the NGOs and all the Social Democratic reformist leaders are silent. This vividly shows the hypocrisy of these pundits, who lose no opportunity to express their will to fight terrorism, yet support the terrorist actions of US imperialism in Iraq, Afghanistan and everywhere else.

In reality the intention of the American imperialists who are waging war on Afghanistan, is not to fight against terrorism but to reassert US domination of the world and to intimidate the masses of the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Their excuse for attacking Afghanistan is that it sheltered bin Laden; but they have produced not one shred of evidence of this. On the other hand, there is plenty of evidence that US imperialism has backed, armed and financed terrorist groups all over the world - including in Afghanistan.

When ordinary Americans say they are opposed to terrorist brutality and barbarism, we can believe it. But when these speeches are made by Bush and the US establishment, we cannot. The terrorist attack on the 11th September was a naked act of brutality, but one cannot hand the responsibility for dealing with this crime to the American ruling class, which is guilty of far greater crimes.

The first task of the American working class is to try to understand the real reasons for the present situation. The root causes of the problem are not far away from America, they are not in Afghanistan but within America itself. The ruling class of America, and of the rest of the so-called civilised (i.e. capitalist) world, is ultimately responsible for creating the conditions that produced this ghastly massacre. By their actions they are preparing new and even worse barbarities.

When they recover from the deep shock caused by the catastrophe of September 11, the American working class will begin to understand the real nature of the problem they face at home and abroad, and will begin to fight against their own ruling class. They will not be fooled forever by the propaganda machine of the American ruling class. Once the mighty working class of the America moves into action, they will change the entire world situation.

The enemies of the American working class are not the oppressed masses of the Afghanistan, who are facing horrific repression under the monstrous Taliban regime, installed by the CIA and its puppets. Your real enemy is at home: it is called American imperialism. It is the historical task of American working class to break with the ruling class, its cruel and brutal policies and cold-hearted hypocrisy. It is necessary to oppose the American aggression against Afghanistan, and to fight against the capitalist system which is the real cause of war, death, terrorism, racism, hunger, unemployment and exploitation on a global scale.

There is only one way to put an end to these disastrous wars, terrorism and fundamentalism: for the working class to take a power and carry through the socialist transformation of society.

We, the working people of Afghanistan and Pakistan, will strongly condemn any aggression from American imperialism and NATO forces in this part of the world. We will not only condemn the attacks, but will also do everything in our power to mobilise the working class under the banner of the labour and trade union movement to resist imperialist aggression, to fight capitalism and landlordism and utilise the crisis of the system to raise high the banner of socialism.

Quetta, Pakistan, 
September 26, 2001