From A World to Win News Service

Afghanistan: 4 years after the U.S.-led invasion

Part 1

Revolution #019, October 23, 2005, posted at

We are running this article from A World to Win News Service in two parts.

October 10, 2005. A World to Win News Service. As the counting of the votes from the September parliamentary election in Afghanistan continues, October 7 marked the fourth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion. Since the election is the last step in the plan worked out by the big power-sponsored conference in Bonn, Germany, shortly after the December 2001 invasion, this is an appropriate time to take stock of what the invaders have achieved.

In addition to moving against its enemies in Al-Qaeda and getting rid of the Taleban, whom the U.S. had brought to power but found unsatisfactory, the invaders declared that their guns would bring much good to Afghanistan--peace, democracy, and the liberation of women. This, they said, was why they had to bomb the people and wreak even greater destruction on an already demolished country. But the U.S. had its own agenda, usually hidden from the people but openly stated in American political and strategic studies journals. They considered Afghanistan a key piece in their quest for global domination.

The U.S. and its allies handpicked Afghanistan’s participants at the Bonn conference, representatives of Islamic fundamentalist jihadi, tribal notables, warlords and other reactionaries no less hated by the people than the Taleban. The conference’s choice for head of the provisional government, Hamid Karzai, a U.S. puppet issued from and approved by the country’s most backward forces, was a signal indicating what sort of regime would be imposed--or in other words, what kind of social system Afghanistan would have and what kind of relationship would prevail between the country and the world’s dominant powers.

The transfer of power from the Taleban to Karzai was not peaceful, as claimed. Instead it was made possible by the British and U.S. forces in the most violent fighting Afghanistan had witnessed in decades. The subsequent steps called for in Bonn--including the December 2003 Loya Jirga (grand council) that approved the constitution and the presidential elections--have brought no change at all to the country’s real status. Now, after the parliamentary elections marking the end point in the Bonn plan, the invaders have announced they will step up the number of occupation troops, with an end to the occupation farther from view than ever.

The political situation

The U.S. imperialists control the Afghanistan government’s foreign and internal policies. Karzai is allowed at most to comment on tactical points or make empty speeches for public consumption. U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad openly led the configuration of the new regime at Bonn, during the Loya Jirga and at other key points. He is now playing the same role in Iraq. The electoral democracy that the occupiers are building for Afghanistan is nothing but a regime that suits their interest and has been enforced on the people of Afghanistan in the same way as similar regimes imposed by the British in the 19th century and the Soviet invaders in the 1980s.

Some people who opposed the invasion of Iraq thought that the occupation of Afghanistan had more justification. One reason is because they very mistakenly believed it could bring at least some good for the people there. Another reason, often related to that, is that unlike the invasion of Iraq this one was sanctioned by the UN and so appeared less like a unilateral U.S. move. But the fact is that the Europeans and U.S. had common interests in occupying Afghanistan, or at least Germany and France wanted to take part in the occupation for their own interests, perhaps because they didn’t dare let the U.S. exclude them. The fundamental point is that the fate and political life of Afghanistan is, right now, being shaped by the interests of imperialists, especially the U.S.

Karzai claims that U.S. and other foreign forces are not occupiers but friends who came at Afghanistan’s request. The traitor khans and emirs (clan and feudal rulers) during the British colonialist era claimed the same thing. The Parcham and Khalq (pro-USSR revisionist parties) made the same argument in favor of the Soviet invasion.

This is a big lie. Karzai didn’t bring the foreign forces to Afghanistan and they have not stayed on at his request--the truth is the other way around. They have all the guns and therefore all the power and Karzai has none. The foreign forces brought him to power and protect him. They can get rid of him if he doesn’t obey or fails to satisfy their interests.

The military situation

These occupiers seek complete control of the space of Afghanistan and have divided it among themselves. They are carrying out the occupation in four forms:

1. The occupiers in the "anti-terrorism" alliance under direct U.S. leadership that controls more than 30 military bases all over the country. They are the main troops fighting fundamentalist insurgents and ex-Taleban.

2. The ISAF (International Security Assistance Forces), led by NATO--which in this case means the European powers. They seized Kabul to provide security for the puppet regime and their own activities and prevent clashes among hostile bands and groups.

3. The Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT). In the name of protecting local reconstruction projects, these military units have widened their activities in many regions and are busy gathering information (spying) to strengthen the occupation. Most are under U.S. leadership, but other invader forces like the British and Germans run some of these teams.

4. Private security forces. Their officers and mercenaries--professional killers and criminals--have a completely free hand and are not accountable to anyone except the governments of their respective countries. They supposedly provide security for personnel and buildings in various projects, although their activities sometimes range far more broadly.

The puppet regime has no air force. The occupation forces are building an Afghan army in a way that cannot challenge them on the ground either. In the name of protecting the electoral process and fighting the increase in pro-Taleban insurgents, and also faced with the rise of mass anti-occupation protests, the occupiers and especially the U.S. have been trying to sharply increase the number of foreign troops. The U.S., however, cannot spare soldiers now fighting an increasingly difficult war in Iraq. In fact, the Bush government would like to be able to bring some American troops there from Afghanistan. Donald Rumsfeld, at a recent NATO meeting in Berlin, asked the NATO countries to increase their forces in Afghanistan. This was opposed by France, Spain, and Germany, which have a different strategy there. But Britain agreed to send 4-5000 more soldiers. Canada and Holland also responded positively, and Australia and New Zealand, though not in NATO, have also indicated that they might comply. In all, NATO recently agreed to boost its forces from 10,000 to 15,000, although there is still a dispute about the degree and way in which they will take part in fighting in the increasingly unstable eastern and southern part of the country.

Security for the people in Kabul is bad, and outside Kabul it is even worse, certainly worse than it was under the Taleban. If anyone leaves town, they do so in convoys. Even the aid agency Medecins Sans Frontieres was forced to leave after years of activity even during the Taleban regime. Five of its staff members were murdered last June. But the 17,000 U.S. forces, with their guns and Apache attack helicopters, are controlling the land and they are using the haze of fear and uncertainty that has taken over the country to advance a draconian war against the people.

To justify the invasion, the imperialists and their columnists claimed that because the country had seen war for so long, the people want and need peace more than anything else--more than, for example, having their own country. But the bombers, missiles, and ground forces of the U.S. and its allies have inflicted horrible atrocities on the people without letup ever since. U.S. jets are still bombing defenseless villagers. On July 5, the Guardian reported that American air raids killed "17 villagers, including women and children." On August 11, U.S. warplanes bombed houses in Zabul province in southwest Afghanistan, killing several civilians and wounding others, including a baby. In the version of this incident given out by the American military, "18 suspected guerrillas and one U.S. soldier died in the clash." ( Guardian, August 12.) Some of these continuing incidents are reported in this distorted way and many are not revealed at all. U.S. forces continue launching midnight raids on villages and harassing families. Amid rising anger, the arrest of a woman and two men in predawn raids sparked a massive demonstration in Jalalabad last December.

Coming next week in Part 2: The economic situation, the liberation of women, and rising people’s resistance