Afghanistan

In the bourgeois media today, Afghanistan is portrayed only in relation to Islamic fundamentalism, jihad, warlords and drug cartels. While these ills are a sad fact of life in Afghanistan today, that was not always the case. 40 years ago, a revolution almost shook the country out of its backwardness, only to be thrown back after the imperialist-backed, fundamentalist counter-revolution. To understand the current situation in the Middle East, as well as the rise of the reactionary forces, it is necessary to understand the rise and fall of the Saur revolution in Afghanistan in 1978.

The last reports on Tuesday evening suggested that the Afghan government had suffered a serious setback after a Taliban offensive succeeded in taking control of much of Sangin, a strategic town in the Helmand province.

The recent visit of Pakistan’s military chief previous Sunday has been shrouded in mystery and marked by controversies ever since it was announced.  Apparently instigated by General Raheel Sharif, it comes just weeks after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met with US President Barack Obama at the Oval Office to discuss many of the same issues said to be on his army chief's agenda, including Afghan peace talks and Pakistan's nuclear ambitions.

In the past couple of weeks, unprecedented events had been unfolding in Afghanistan. Hundreds of thousands of people have gathered in the streets of Kabul to protest against the gruesome beheading of 7 people, all whom were ethnically Hazara.

The final round of the presidential elections in Afghanistan, and the “deal” between the two “front runners”, on September 21, was so feeble, and the outcome so rotten, that even bourgeois analysts and reporters had to designate them as pathetic and repulsive.

Just hours before the beginning of the peace talks between the Taliban and the US delegation in Qatar the mercurial Afghan President Karzai suspended talks on a long-term security deal to keep US troops in Afghanistan after NATO leaves in 2014.

The recent atrocities in Afghanistan have once again thrown the Afghan war into the headlines. The latest murders in Kandahar province, where 16 innocent Afghans, including nine children, were shot dead by a rampaging US staff sergeant, have further added to the turmoil and agony of the region. It has served to intensify the mass opposition to foreign occupation, which while promising “democracy”, has drought catastrophe in its wake.

The massacre of sixteen civilians, including children, by a 38-year old US sergeant, reportedly taking part in a “village stabilisation” operation in Kandahar, Afghanistan, exposes the real nature of this so-called “good war”. As with other imperialist wars, this is a blatant aggression for profit and plunder on the part of the imperialist elites.

As the confrontation between the “allies” – US and Pakistan – in the “War on Terror” worsens, the prospect of any fruitful outcome to this war of attrition fades further away. The bloody conflict in Afghanistan and the tribal areas of Pakistan rages on. The colossal collateral damage caused by imperialist bombings and drone attacks, in reality means the brutal extermination of thousands of innocent souls. The fundamentalist terror doesn’t spare the ordinary people either.

The split between the US generals and politicians could not have come at a worse time. The sacking of McChrystal just at the beginning of the fighting season could disrupt the entire counter-insurgency campaign, which was already going badly. The fact is that a military victory is out of the question. The greatest military power in the world is now overstretched in the region.

After eight years of war in Afghanistan, the inability of Western imperialism to quell the insurgency has entered into a period of crisis. Cracks and divisions within the central government are becoming more and more critical as the military and political situation becomes ever more unstable. Major conflicts within Afghanistan’s Western-backed ruling clique were first brought to a head in August during the presidential elections. The accusations of fraud have left Karzai’s grip on power extremely strained and have left Karzai wondering whether the NATO mission is more hindrance than help.

The western military presence in Afghanistan is presented as a means of pushing the country towards “democracy” and “progress”. Nothing could be further from the truth! The elections earlier this year were a sham. The system being propped up by western troops is utterly corrupt. Here an Afghan reader of our site comments on the situation.

With the latest news of the 100th death this year of a British soldier in Afghanistan, this imperialist adventure is getting more and more unpopular. In an article published in the current issue of Socialist Appeal published at the end of November, Rob Sewell looks at the latest situation and its background of a war that can never deliver social and economic progress to the Afghan people.