No reason to support U.S. occupation of Afghanistan
Published Jul 30, 2008 10:52 PM
Barack Obama’s international trip this July was historically
unprecedented. On the one hand, it showed the enormous contrast with the hated
and isolated George W. Bush. On the other, it refocused attention on U.S.
criminal wars and occupations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The people of the U.S.—about 70 percent of them according to all recent
polls—hate the war in Iraq and want it over. Even Iraq’s occupation
Premier Nuri al-Maliki made a point of publicly supporting Obama’s plan
for a 16-month pullout of U.S. troops. The puppet premier placed in office by
U.S. bayonets, bombs and dollars wants the U.S. out soon, or at least wants to
look like he does. Most U.S. allies are already out.
Obama and his opponent John McCain support the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan,
as does the great majority of the U.S. ruling class. Washington’s NATO
allies participate, despite the war’s unpopularity among their
populations. The governments know this is the price for being considered part
of the imperialist world.
Obama even asked for more German support during his triumphant Berlin speech,
much to the chagrin of anti-war forces in Germany.
To most people in the U.S., the occupation of Iraq is directly connected to the
lies of the Bush administration and the profits of the oil companies. And
But regarding Afghanistan, the people have been misled. Many believe that U.S.
aims in Afghanistan were and are limited to a police action against al-Qaeda,
against those allegedly responsible for the 9/11 attacks in 2001, and to the
The truth is that the ruling group then in Afghanistan, the Taliban, had come
to power with Pakistani backing at the end of a long civil war. Washington had
financed and trained all the most reactionary forces, including Osama
bin-Laden’s group, during that period in order to overthrow the
revolutionary Afghan government that the Soviet Union had supported starting
Criminal invasion and occupation
Instead Washington carried out a full invasion and occupation of Afghanistan.
The U.S. bombs killed many civilians then—starting October 2001—and
continue to do so now. The U.S. puppet regime, headed by Hamid Karzai, has
failed to stabilize the country, and Karzai is mockingly called “the
mayor of Kabul,” Afghanistan’s capital.
Afghanistan’s 30 million people today are no more content with U.S. rule
than a smaller population was with the failed British attempt to extend its
empire there in the 19th century. While the “surge” was supposed to
be taming Iraq, the resistance movement inside Afghanistan was growing. Now
both the Democratic and Republican candidates campaign to place more U.S. and
NATO troops inside Afghanistan.
In May and June more U.S.-NATO “coalition” forces were killed by
the resistance in Afghanistan than were killed in Iraq. In mid-July the U.S.
was forced to abandon a remote outpost in eastern Afghanistan after resistance
fighters killed nine U.S. troops and briefly seized the area, near the village
of Wanat in Nuristan province. U.S. officers remarked that the Afghan fighters
had carried out a well-planned, sophisticated attack.
NATO slaughter of civilians continues. The United Nations estimates that 698
civilians were killed in the first six months of this year in Afghanistan; this
compares with 430 killed during the same period last year. Of those 698, some
255 were killed by NATO forces. Human Rights Watch says air strikes alone have
been responsible for killing 119 civilians in 2008.
Like the puppet al-Maliki in Iraq, the puppet Karzai in Afghanistan has to put
some distance between himself and the foreign occupiers. Karzai has made public
statements asking NATO and U.S.-led coalition troops to avoid killing
civilians. Still, three airstrikes in July killed 78 Afghan civilians.
Washington’s drive to increase both the U.S. and NATO’s role in
Afghanistan is matched by its threats to expand the war over the border into
Pakistan. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, speaking July 25 from
Australia, demanded that the new Pakistani government—the U.S. client
Gen. Musharraf has been driven almost completely out by a mass electoral
movement—send troops against Taliban forces in its western provinces that
are allegedly striking into Afghanistan from Pakistani territory. (Washington
Post, July 25)
The border there between the two countries, arbitrarily placed by the British
Empire in the 19th century, splits the Pashtun people, who have never
recognized the line. By threatening a new intervention, Washington risks
involving 170 million Pakistani people in a new phase of its attempt to control
the Middle East and South Asia. The U.S. role in Afghanistan is another
criminal, reactionary occupation that must be ended.
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