U.S. war crimes alienate peoples of Pakistan, Afghanistan
Published Nov 8, 2009 10:27 PM
Recent events in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan have again
put the spotlight on U.S. imperialist designs to continue to
subjugate and dominate these south-central Asian countries. They
have also shown that the besieged peoples of these nations will
not bow down to what the belligerent occupation forces have in
store for them.
Eight years of war and occupation in Afghanistan have failed to
subdue the Taliban-led resistance. October was the deadliest
month yet this year for U.S. forces engaged in the grossly
misnamed “Operation Enduring Freedom.” Fifty-nine GIs
lost their lives. (icasualties.org)
The Aug. 20 presidential election in Afghanistan was supposed to
have provided a veneer of “democracy” and legitimacy
that would justify the continued U.S.-led occupation and war.
Instead, incumbent President Hamid Karzai “won” in an
election marked by low voter turnout and rife with massive,
widespread fraud. The U.S.-backed puppet leader had so many of
his ballots invalidated that it pushed him below the 50 percent
margin required for him to win.
Karzai’s main rival, former Foreign Minister Abdullah
Abdullah, himself a collaborator with the occupation forces,
announced on Oct. 31 that he was boycotting the runoff election
between him and Karzai scheduled for Nov. 7 after talks broke
down on implementing measures to prevent further vote fraud.
The Taliban had called for a boycott of the election they called
phony and said they would step up attacks on the occupying
military forces. A Taliban statement warned that anyone involved
in the electoral process would be considered a legitimate target.
(aljazeera.net, Oct. 29)
On Nov. 2, under intense pressure from the United States and its
imperialist allies, the Afghan “Independent Election
Commission” canceled the runoff election and declared
Karzai the winner, thus sparing the government and its U.S.
masters another round of vote fraud charges and additional
These events occur as U.S. President Barack Obama is considering
an increase of more than 40,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Gen.
Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. and NATO commander of the
occupation forces, has said that unless this minimum number of
additional forces is sent, the U.S. effort risks failure in
opposing the growing Taliban resistance.
Pentagon’s offensive against Obama
McChrystal’s active promotion of the escalation showed that
the Pentagon was attempting to dictate policy to the Obama
administration. The president has been meeting with a bipartisan
“war council” focused on future military strategy in
Afghanistan and whether to accede to the Pentagon’s demand
for troops. It is apparent that many in the administration
believe an escalation might lead to an even bigger debacle for
In a speech at a naval air station in Jacksonville, Fla., on Oct.
26, however, Obama tried to placate the warhawks, saying he would
“never hesitate to use force to protect the American people
or our vital interests.” (aljazeera.net, Oct. 27) He did
not explain what vital interests the people of the U.S. have in
Currently there are approximately 104,000 international troops in
Afghanistan, including about 68,000 U.S. troops. Afghan armed
forces number around 94,000 and are supported by a similar number
of police, bringing the total occupation force to almost 300,000
members. (Associated Press, Oct. 28)
McChrystal says the extra forces are needed to implement a new
strategy that focuses on “protecting civilians” while
at the same time depriving the Taliban of popular support. In
practice, this counter-insurgency strategy leads to enormous
civilian deaths and high troop casualties. Taliban fighters
number only approximately 25,000. Even with this 12 to 1 ratio,
the U.S. occupation has been unable to defeat the resistance or
curb attacks on its own forces.
In neighboring Pakistan, the U.S. government pushed the regime
into a military offensive against Islamic resistance fighters
along the border with Afghanistan in an area known as Waziristan.
At stake for the Pakistani government is $7.5 billion in U.S.
military aid to be used exclusively for “the war on
In what is said to be a response by the Taliban to the government
offensive, which has driven hundreds of thousands from their
homes, there were several bombings in Pakistan in October that
killed more than 300 people. On Nov. 2, at least 30 more were
killed in a bombing near Pakistan’s military headquarters
Clinton flops in Pakistan
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went on what much of the
media called a three-day “charm offensive” to
Pakistan Oct. 28-30. Her public relations tour was meant to shore
up goodwill for the U.S., even as a majority of people in this
impoverished country were rejecting U.S. military intervention
and occupation in the region. Clinton’s plane had barely
touched down when a bomb attack killed 105 people in the city of
Peshawar—an attack the Taliban denied making.
Clinton offended both the people and the Pakistani government as
she point-blank accused the government of purposely not ridding
the country of al-Qaeda: “I find it hard to believe that
nobody in your government knows where they are and couldn’t
get them if they really wanted to.” (Reuters, Oct. 29)
Clinton then tried to soften her tone but it was too late. The
Pakistani masses were infuriated by the arrogance of the
imperialist master. It seemed that everywhere Clinton went, angry
Pakistanis confronted her and put her on the defensive,
“brimming with resentment toward U.S. foreign
policy.” (AP, Oct. 29)
As Clinton was making a live broadcast with a primarily female
audience of several hundred, a woman confronted the secretary of
state, accusing Washington of “executions without
trial” by using remote-controlled pilotless drones against
the civilian population. Another woman asked Clinton how she
would define terrorism. “Is it the killing of people in
drone attacks?” the woman asked. A visibly frustrated
Clinton could only reply “No.”
Since August 2008, some 70 airstrikes by pilotless drone aircraft
have killed at least 600 people in northwestern Pakistan. Philip
Alston, the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial
executions, told a news conference in New York on Oct. 27 that
such drone strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan “may well
violate international humanitarian law and international human
rights law.” (aljazeera.net, Oct. 28)
Clinton was asked repeatedly throughout her visit to Pakistan
about the drone attacks and could only respond by saying,
“There’s a war going on.”
Workers in the United States have no interest in fighting this
war on behalf of an imperialist system that is desperately trying
to maintain its stranglehold on the impoverished and struggling
peoples of the world.
Poor and working people know in their bones that
“terror” and “terrorism” are nothing but
code words used by the powers that be to vilify and demonize
those who would stand up and fight back to maintain their pride
and dignity. Workers and oppressed people in the U.S. know that
what’s needed is a “war on joblessness” at
The people of Afghanistan and Pakistan have shown an indomitable
will to struggle against the largest military behemoth in the
world in order to defend their sovereignty and drive out the
invaders. What is decisive is not military might but the will of
the people. It is the duty of anti-imperialist activists in the
U.S. to show solidarity with the resistance forces and demand
U.S. out of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World.
Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.
Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011
Email: [email protected]
Subscribe [email protected]
Support independent news DONATE