Afghanistan

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.

The US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan are fighting an unwinnable war. This fact is seeping into the consciousness of millions of people in the west who are now opposed to the war. But also in Afghanistan there are signs that the ordinary people are tired of both the imperialist occupation forces and the Taliban. The only alternative to the present barbarism is the struggle for a socialist federation of South Asia, which would include a socialist Afghanistan.

On Thursday, August 20, 2009, Afghanistan held its provincial and presidential elections. This is the second presidential election since the occupation of the country began in 2001. While a winner has yet to be declared, many predicted that incumbent Hamid Karzai would win outright in the first round of the election, although recent reports suggest a second round of voting is possible. Regardless of who is elected, they will be backed by the US-led NATO occupation forces, who aren’t planning on leaving any time soon.

Afghanistan is entering a period of acute crisis that could put the final nail in the coffin of the imperialist intervention there. Contradictions in the military and political situation have been building beneath the surface for years. The inability of NATO to defeat the Taliban is a direct reflection of the corruption, nepotism, and incompetence of the Karzai regime.

The war in Afghanistan has re-emerged in the headlines as casualty rates for American and British forces have now reached their highest since the invasion of Afghanistan. Already more than one hundred American troops have been killed since the beginning of this year alone, whilst in Britain the news has been dominated by the deaths of eight soldiers who were killed in twenty four hours over the weekend.

A British Army brigadier recently admitted what we said long ago on the pages of this website: a military victory over the Taliban was “neither feasible nor supportable”. Neither side is winning and this is pushing the more realistic and serious minded strategists of capital to look at other solutions, a deal of some kind. Meanwhile the ordinary people continue to suffer.

On June 13th, Taliban fighters launched a large-scale raid on Kandahar prison. Nearly 1,200 prisoners, including 400 Taliban insurgents, were freed. Taliban forces then captured 7 towns and villages in the Arghandab region of Kandahar province. Although NATO forces subsequently regained control, these events highlight the real situation in Afghanistan, one where the Taliban are getting stronger, not weaker.

We are making available to our readers an article written by Engels on Afghanistan 150 years ago. In spite of the years that have passed the article is still relevant today. The imperialists did not understand the situation in Afghanistan then as they continue not to understand it today.

Up until recently, while Iraq was viewed as a quagmire, Afghanistan was seen as a relatively successful part of George Bush’s “War on Terror.” Now, even this silver lining is beginning to disappear.