By Yossi Schwartz, Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 17 August 2021, www.thecommunists.net
There is no doubt that thousands of Afghans are trying to escape from Afghanistan as the Taliban is taking over Kabul. Who are these people? Why do they believe that they are going to suffer under the Taliban’s government? At this time, it is not clear, but we should not be surprised if these are people who served America’s puppet government as civilians or in military roles. The USA claims that it built an army of 300,000 strong. It is clear first that this army collapsed as if it was made out of paper and no doubt some of them would like to escape to the USA for fear, not necessarily from the Taliban, but fear from the Afghani poor villagers.
“The defense official said the United States aims get tens of thousands of at-risk Afghans who worked for the US government out of Afghanistan and was looking at temporarily housing them at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin and Fort Bliss in Texas.” (1)
“Hundreds of Afghan soldiers have fled to Uzbekistan with 22 military planes and 24 helicopters last weekend, including one aircraft that collided with an escorting Uzbek fighter jet causing both to crash, Uzbekistan said on Monday.” (2)
An American who was in Afghanistan and now teaches in the University of Iowa writes: “After 20 years of direct U.S. support — including the deaths of 2,373 American service members and the wounding of another 20,320 — the Afghan government has failed to build the legitimacy and domestic support necessary to survive. How did this happen? The multifaceted answer includes one very salient fact: Afghanistan is the world’s premier narco-state, and its government is one of the most corrupt in the world (12th most corrupt to be exact). Afghanistan’s economy is based on drugs.
When the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, they became anti-poppy. In 2001, opium production was near zero. After the American invasion and the establishment of the Karzai government, opium poppies sprouted across the country. The United States began to press Kabul to reduce opium production by crop substitution, demand reduction and the eradication of poppy fields. With President Karzai’s home region and even his brother up to their eyeballs in the narcotics trade, the effort was half-hearted. The subsequent Ghani administration is perhaps even more corrupt… Afghan officials take kickbacks, steal money intended for development projects and brazenly solicit bribes. High government officials buy their way into senior posts — senior customs positions in Jalalabad were the most expensive to buy, given the lucrative narcotics and regular trade passing through that city to the Khyber Pass and Pakistan…. While the Taliban probably won’t take over the whole of Afghanistan this month, the country could very easily fall into a multi-sided civil war featuring warlords and drug lords battling the Taliban and each other as central administration crumbles.” (3)
Under the American puppet government most Afghanis have suffered from harsh poverty: “It is noteworthy that three decades of continued war in Afghanistan has caused widespread poverty in the country. All the country’s infrastructure destroyed by war has caused poverty in the country. Poverty has spread to such an extent that people do not have access to even basic needs”. Approximately 9 million Afghans are not able to meet their basic needs. On average, the poor are only able to consume at a level equal to 78 percent of the estimated cost of basic needs. While 36 percent of the population cannot meet basic consumption needs, there are many more people who are highly susceptible to becoming poor (Ministry of Economic MoE, 2010). Poverty in Afghanistan exists in accordance with different dimensions such as low income, unemployment, illiteracy, disabilities, lack of basic public services, and security problems.” (4)
The corrupt Afghani government and the American air force killed more civilians than the Taliban. “Between January 1 and September 30 2019 Civilian deaths from Afghan government and US operations exceeded those caused by the Taliban for the first time during the first six months of 2019, largely due to a sharp increase in US airstrikes”… The government made progress in reducing torture in some detention facilities, but failed to hold security forces members and prominent political figures accountable for abuses, including sexual assault”… The Taliban targeted civilians who worked with the Afghan government or foreign forces. On May 8, Taliban fighters attacked the Kabul headquarters of Counterpart International, a US nongovernmental organization (NGO) that implements USAID projects. Three civilians in the adjacent premises of Care International were killed. The Taliban killed and injured hundreds of civilians in attacks on Afghan government and foreign military facilities. A Taliban suicide attack on September 17 near the Afghan Defense Ministry in Kabul killed 22 civilians and wounded 38. A September 5 suicide bomb attack targeting NATO soldiers killed at least 10 civilians.” (5)
Thus, Afghanistan is almost the mirror of Syria but where in Syria it is Russian imperialism and Assad the Butcher, in Afghanistan it is American imperialism and its puppet government. In Syria the regime and its supporters claim that Assad is an anti-imperialist, while in Afghanistan the propaganda is the defense of human rights.
Afghan Ambassador to the United Nations Ghulam M. Isaczai said during Monday’s Security Council meeting that the UN must call for an end to violence in Afghanistan. “There is no time for a blame game anymore. We have an opportunity to prevent further violence, prevent Afghanistan descending into civil war, and becoming a pariah state. Therefore the Security Council and the UN Secretary-General should use every means at its disposal to call for an immediate cessation of violence and respect for human rights and international humanitarian law,” Isaczai said.” (6)
“United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres opened the UN Security Council meeting on Afghanistan on Monday by expressing his concern about reports of human rights violations, particularly against women and girls. “I call upon the Taliban and all parties to respect and protect international humanitarian law and the rights and freedoms of all persons. We are receiving chilling reports of severe restrictions on human rights throughout the country,” Guterres said, “I am particularly concerned by accounts of mounting human rights violations against the women and girls of Afghanistan who fear a return to the darkest days. It is essential that the hard-won rights of Afghan women and girls are protected,” he added.” (7)
We can expect that the Taliban will enforce traditional clothes, the burqa, on women which we oppose of course. But to speak about systematic human right abuse while forgetting the misery of most women under the puppet government is a hypocritical statement of an imperialist politician.
The right-wing leader of the British Labor party Keir Starmer, a truly social-imperialist, said: “the situation in Afghanistan is “shocking, and it’s tragic.” Starmer told journalists on Monday the world is seeing “the unravelling of 20 years of progress, and of huge sacrifice.” (8) What he calls “progress” is torture, bombing and raping!
“While Biden apparently made no calls, Secretary of State Antony Blinken was on the phone with his Australian, French, German and Norwegian counterparts about efforts to bring “citizens to safety and assist vulnerable Afghans,” according to a State Department spokesperson“. (9) By “vulnerable Afghans” he means the servants of US imperialism.
The picture the Russian imperialists are painting is very different: “Russia is closely following the developments in Afghanistan, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Monday. The foreign ministry added the transfer of power to the Taliban occurred “as a result of the almost complete absence of resistance from the national armed forces trained by the United States and its allies.” “According to the available information, the situation in Kabul and in Afghanistan as a whole is stabilizing,” the statement read. “The Taliban started to restore public order, confirmed the guarantees of the safety of local residents and foreign diplomatic missions.” … ” We expect that the Afghan military forces, prepared by the Americans and NATO, will last at least some time and will control at least part of the country which will allow us to hold negotiations on a coalition transit government. Apparently, we overestimated the talents of our American colleagues, and this army gave up without a fight,” Kabulov said. “When the Soviet Union left Afghanistan, the regime they supported held up for three years. The regime that the Americans had been creating for 20 years, did not even last until the Americans left completely,” he added.” (10)
What we can expect of the Taliban in power we can learn more or less from the period the Taliban was in power. “During their earlier rule, the Taliban barred women from working outside the home or attending school. Women were required to wear the burqa and had to be accompanied by a male relative whenever they went outside. These days, the Taliban leadership says it is open to women’s education, but rights groups say the rules vary depending on local commanders and the communities themselves. Afghanistan remains an overwhelmingly conservative country, especially outside major cities.” (11)
Short of a socialist revolution Afghanistan will remain a semi-colony that will be controlled by China and maybe be Russia as well. We do not give the Taliban political support, but the defeat of American imperialism is a good thing as it will encourage the popular classes of the oppressed nations to fight the imperialists.
4) Farid Ahmad Farzam Rahimi Ritsumeikan: The impact of security and regional integration on poverty reduction in Afghanistan, Asia Pacific University (APU), Japan 2015
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We refer readers to the latest statement of the RCIT on the imperialist defeat in Afghanistan:
Afghanistan: The Rats Are Fleeing! The fall of Kabul is a historic defeat for Western imperialism and a victory for the oppressed peoples! 17 August 2021, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/afghanistan-the-rats-are-fleeing/
We have compiled a number of RCIT articles on this issue on a special sub-page on our webiste: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/collection-of-articles-on-us-defeat-in-afghanistan/