The fall of Kabul is a historic defeat for Western imperialism and a victory for the oppressed peoples!
Statement by the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 17 August 2021, www.thecommunists.net
1. The chaotic scenes at the airport of Kabul are symbolic for the defeat, or let us better say, the comprehensive humiliation of Western imperialism and its treacherous collaborators. The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) and all socialists join the oppressed masses in Gaza, Idlib and many other places who are rejoicing this historic defeat of the Western Great Powers. This is a defeat for the oppressors and a victory for the oppressed of no less significance as the desperate flight of the rats last time in Saigon in 1975!
2. For twenty years the Western imperialists occupied Afghanistan which did cost the lives of about 241,000 people. The U.S. – the main force of the NATO occupation troops – stationed up to 110,000 soldiers including modern air force in the country. According to the Costs of War Project at Brown University, Washington has spent about $2.26 trillion in Afghanistan since 2001, in order to finance the occupation, to build the so-called “Afghan” army, and to maintain a colonial administration which called itself “Afghan” government. Nearly a quarter of that sum ($530bn) is interest payments on the money the US government borrowed to fund the war. (You see, war is big business for financial capitalists!)
3. Western politicians and media tried to sell the occupation as something progressive, aimed at finally bringing civilization to the “backward Afghan people”. We were told that Afghans were happy with the colonial administration, that it would have liberated women, etc. This was always a charade which only fools and pro-imperialist lackeys could believe! The RCIT and all authentic Marxists have said from the beginning that this is an imperialist occupation imposed against the will of the people. The developments of the recent months totally confirm our assessments. From the moment the American announced their retreat in April, the “Afghan” army – in fact, the auxiliary troops of the occupation force – stopped fighting, joined the Taliban or went home. One city after the other fell to the Taliban, mostly without a single shot fired! Kabul even fell so quickly that the Taliban were surprised and, initially, did not have enough forces on the ground to secure the city! Symbolizing the collapse of the corrupted colonial regime, “President” Ashraf Ghani fled from Kabul with four cars and a helicopter full of cash, according to Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti.
4. So, we ask the right-wing, liberal and “left-wing” supporter of the imperialist occupation in Afghanistan: if the 20 years of occupation really brought progress, if live under the Yankees was really better than under the Taliban, why on earth does no Afghan defend this supposedly more advantageous conditions? Why was an “Afghan” army of 300,000 soldiers, with the support of tens of thousands of Western troops with the most modern military equipment, incapable to defeat an insurgency force?! How could such peasant guerrilla movement armed only with AK-74 and sandals, with no air force, no helicopters, no tanks, no artillery, without any military support from any other power – how could they successfully resist such extremely superior imperialist forces?!
5. There is only one explanation: the imperialist occupation forces only had the support of small circles of the local bourgeoisie and urban middle class but no real base among the popular masses. This is hardly surprising as the Afghan people had no benefit whatsoever of the trillions of US-Dollars spent by the occupation forces. Last year, President Ashraf Ghani was forced to admit that 90 percent of the population was living on less than $2 a day! 11 million people – one third of the total population – have been made refugees! The only “industry” which flourished under US occupation was the production of opium (By 2014, Afghanistan was producing three times as much opium as it did in 2000 when the Taliban were still in power!) The US occupation was beneficial for women? But why is a destructive occupation with corrupted bureaucrats and soldiers who are brutalizing women better for women than wearing the burqa?!
6. In summary, the treacherous collaborators of the Yankees – who have already fled the country with boxes of cash or who are now crowding Kabul’s airport – they have only been in power because of American guns and money. They never represented the Afghan people – they only represented the interests of Western imperialism. In contrast, the Taliban – despite their reactionary social policy – have been seen by many as legitimate representatives of the Afghan people, defending the homeland against the Western crusaders. This is why the Taliban won and this is why the imperialists and their Quislings lost.
7. The RCIT (resp. our predecessor organizations) has characterized the struggle against the US/NATO occupation from the very beginning in 2001 as a national liberation war, i.e. a just popular resistance against imperialist aggression which deserves the unconditional support of all socialists. Hence, we immediately raised the slogan “Defend Afghanistan! Defeat Imperialism!” after the 9/11 events in 2001. In such a struggle, socialists support the popular resistance irrespective of the ideology of the leadership of this struggle. This is because the struggle was not one between “Islamist” and “liberal” ideas but one between forces representing the biggest imperialist Great Power and forces based among the popular masses in a poor, semi-colonial country.
8. Naturally, socialists could never lend any political support to the Taliban, a petty-bourgeois Islamist movement. They promote a reactionary agenda concerning women’s rights, they oppose any genuine democratic society, and they have no anti-capitalist agenda. It is quite possible that they will collaborate in one way or another with Chinese and Russian imperialism which are less discredited in Afghanistan than the Yankees and their European friends. Nevertheless, socialists should be careful not to parrot Western propaganda which portrays the Taliban as a kind of sub-human, medieval people. Let them be judged by their deeds and not by reports published by CNN and BBC!
9. What will be the international consequences of the disastrous defeat of the Yankee imperialism and the Taliban’s victory? At this early stage, we can only make some preliminary prognoses based on first reactions. However, the following is clear. Saigon 2.0 weakens the Biden Administration in domestic politics as all critics will blame it for the humiliation. This is even more the case as Biden himself expressed publicly confidence in the survival of the Ghani regime and called a victory of the Taliban “very unlikely” – only a few weeks ago!
10. This is a gigantic blow to the prestige and the global position not only of the U.S. but also of Western European powers which are part of NATO. The president of Germany’s conservative party – which leads the government and which is the traditional main party of the bourgeoisie – expressed the demoralization in the camp of Western imperialism: “This is the biggest fiasco in the history of the NATO alliance.” As a result, it will massively reduce the appetite of Western imperialists to invade countries in the South, at least in the foreseeable future.
11. However, it is likely that U.S. imperialism will continue to launch military strikes against adversaries. Biden himself vowed yesterday that he will continue his counterterrorism policy. They are doing so currently in Somalia and they might do it again in Afghanistan. Such a policy of attacks with air force, drones, and missiles avoids the danger of losses of soldiers. However, Somalia – and Yemen before – shows that it is not a very successful model to dominate a region.
12. The disaster of Kabul will also dramatically undermine the confidence of Western allies that they would stand with them in critical hours. Spengler (David P. Goldman), a well-known bourgeois commentator in the U.S., wrote yesterday: “Spectacle at Kabul Airport will serve as a warning that it is dangerous to be a friend of the United States.” And Global Times – the mouthpiece of the Stalinist-capitalist regime in China – warns the government party of Taiwan that it should not rely on U.S. support in case of a war but voluntarily agree “to return to the motherland“. One article is titled “Afghanistan today, Taiwan tomorrow? US treachery scares DPP” and another editorial warns: “From what happened in Afghanistan, they (Taiwan, Ed.) should perceive that once a war breaks out in the Straits, the island’s defense will collapse in hours and the US military won’t come to help. As a result, the DPP authorities will quickly surrender, while some high-level officials may flee by plane.”
13. By its very nature, the dramatic blow for Western imperialism will consequently further strengthen the global position of their Chinese and Russian rivals as they refrained from participating in the occupation. This is even more the case as both Beijing as well as Moscow have established relations with the Taliban in the past years. And from what can be said from the most recent reactions, China and Russia seem to be much more willing to establish official relations with the new Afghanistan than Western powers are.
14. Finally, there is no doubt that the victory of the Afghan people against the biggest imperialist power encourages the oppressed people all over the world. Congratulations coming from Hamas, the Syrian HTS and the National Liberation Front, and from other countries reflect that popular movements fighting against oppressor power view the victory in Afghanistan also as a victory for themselves! And so it is!
International Bureau of the RCIT
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We refer readers to the following documents of the RCIT:
Afghanistan: Good Riddance, Yankees! The Meaning of the U.S. Retreat from Afghanistan and its Consequences for the inter-imperialist Cold War with China, 17 April 2021, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/afghanistan-good-riddance-yankees/
Juan Giglio: Cayó Kabul, derrota estratégica del imperialismo yanqui, agosto 16, 2021, https://convergenciadecombate.blogspot.com/2021/08/cayo-kabul-derrota-estrategica-del.html
Yossi Schwartz: Afghanistan: Another Proof of the Decline of U.S. Imperialism, 14 August 2021, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/afghanistan-is-another-proof-of-the-decline-of-usa-imperialism/