From The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show:

Afghanistan Ravaged by US Imperialism and the Taliban

A presentation by Andy Zee



The following is adapted from Andy Zee’s opening commentary on the August 19 episode of The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show.

We are living in momentous times. Times of conspicuous change. Times when every week, every day brings events—heartrending events of tremendous pain, suffering, upheaval, and devastation.

Huge fires continue to rage and storms ravage now here, now there, as climate change bears down on the planet and its people.

Haiti, destroyed and oppressed for centuries by colonialism and U.S. imperialism, reels from an earthquake creating a humanitarian and, it must be said, imperialist disaster.

COVID dominates U.S. news as hospitalizations and deaths have dramatically spiked due to the reality that in the U.S. this is a fascist pandemic—as the Republican Fascist Party and its rabid base has made opposing science its litmus test and calling card—viciously and violently opposing vaccines and masks which are basic scientifically established protocols to protect and save lives of masses of people.

Dominating the news have been images of masses of people clamoring to escape Kabul, Afghanistan as the U.S. once again, as in Vietnam, was defeated and humiliated in an unjust war it has ruthlessly waged at tremendous cost to the people of Afghanistan. The specter of the return of the regime of the reactionary Taliban, with their draconian nightmarish Islamic fundamentalist rule, haunts the lives of the women of Afghanistan and the conscience of humanity.


First of all—to those who are not paying attention to what is going down in Afghanistan, as well as to those who are, THIS IS A BIG DEAL. A REALLY BIG DEAL. It will have profound implications obviously for the people of Afghanistan, and for the world as a whole, for a defeat of the world’s most powerful imperialist country has big repercussions. And, that this defeat has brought back the Taliban with its theocratic highly repressive reactionary form of rule will reverberate through the Mideast, South Asia and North Africa, inspiring and fueling Islamic fundamentalist movements while intensifying inter-imperialist rivalries.

There are four points that we will just touch on today in what will be our ongoing coverage over the coming weeks in this developing situation. They are: [1] Briefly, this humiliating defeat for the U.S. can have important ramifications for the prospects for revolution; [2] The U.S. was not a liberator and is not the “Good Guys”; [3] The Taliban is a reactionary force that will bring a nightmare for the people, and especially the women of Afghanistan; and [4] There is a whole far better way that the world could be through a revolution guided by and for the objectives of the new communism. And that way requires you to get with and get into the revcoms and the leadership of Bob Avakian.

#1: The U.S. Defeat in Afghanistan and
the Sharp Conflict at the Top of U.S. Society:
Ramifications for Revolution

The humiliating defeat of the U.S. in Afghanistan is shaped by, and is shaping, the sharp divide between the fascists and liberals as they fight viciously over who is to blame. And this is not the blame game of past partisan politics as usual. Rather it is the heightening conflict between two sections of the ruling class and two sections of the people over the future. The Republican fascists are determined to radically change the form of rule of the U.S. to an open terroristic form of fascist dictatorship, while the Democrats are seeking to maintain the U.S. empire under what has been the form of rule of this country since its founding—bourgeois democracy, with some democratic and civil rights—while its essence is vicious dictatorship over those it exploits and rules—here and around the world.



In short, the U.S. defeat in Afghanistan could become part of the mix which strengthens the pole and the organized movement for an actual revolution, bringing closer the time when a revolution could be made. THIS IS ONE KEY REASON WHY WE WELCOME THE DEFEAT OF THE U.S. IN AFGHANISTAN.

But, a revolution can only happen if people take up the scientific understanding of why we need a revolution, what it actually involves, and what it is for.

#2: The U.S. Is Not The “Good Guys” and We Should Welcome Their Defeat

And a key part of this taking shape is understanding that America is not the good guys in the world. As you watch the vaunted United States military attempt to evacuate its personnel, as well as those Afghans who over the last 20 years it has fooled or bribed that it would bring real change and who now stand betrayed, you must not be bamboozled by the blathering of the media, including much of the alternative media, that there was a better way this evacuation should have been done.

To get at this, Bob Avakian in his book, The New Communism, quotes the great revolutionary, V.I. Lenin, who led the Russian Revolution in 1917, who said:

People always were and always will be the foolish victims of deceit and self-deceit in politics until they learn to discover the interests of some class or other behind all moral, religious, political and social phrases, declarations and promises. The supporters of reforms and improvements will always be fooled by the defenders of the old order until they realize that every old institution, however barbarous and rotten it may appear to be, is maintained by the forces of some ruling classes.

We have to look at events like the defeat in Afghanistan, and really every political and social phenomena with a scientific method and approach—what is the deeper reality, why is the U.S. in Afghanistan? Whose and what interests are served by the U.S. occupying a country? Could it really be true that the U.S.—in which misogyny and patriarchy are rampant, with sexual abuse, rape, discrimination pouring forth endlessly and the right to abortion hanging by a thread—could it really be that the U.S. was in Afghanistan to liberate women? You are being systematically lied to and your thinking shaped by the ruling institutions, such as the media and political process as well as the functioning of this system to think its way. And, until we see through the lies they tell us, and until we struggle, sometimes sharply, with those who believe those lies, not only will we be complicit in the crimes of this system, we will not be able to build the forces and seize the time when revolution could be launched and won.

So, what do the U.S. media and politicians say, and what is the reality?

The U.S. said it invaded Afghanistan 20 years ago to stamp out “terrorism,” bring democracy, and liberate women.

Well what about the terrorism they went to stamp out? When al-Qaeda flew hijacked airplanes into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 (9/11), they took the lives of nearly 3,000 people. The U.S. then launched its so-called “war on terror” that would soon stretch into Iraq and points east and south, they caused the deaths of over a million people—most of them civilians—and at least 110,000 and perhaps as many as 210,000 in Afghanistan alone. The violence unleashed by the U.S. has been staggering. Between 2004 and 2018, it dropped over 38,000 bombs on Afghanistan. As of March 2020, it had carried out over 12,000 drone strikes. More than half the country is food insecure with half the children under 5 seriously malnourished.

And in fact, this so-called fighter against terrorism, the United States, has killed nearly 10 million people since the end of World War 2 in its wars and coups and proxy wars in Korea, Vietnam, Guatemala, Iran, Iraq, Chile, El Salvador...the list goes on and on and on.

What about the “democracy” the U.S. brought? A democracy of puppets serving U.S. interests, a coalition of warlords and opportunists backed up by a U.S.-financed Afghanistan army which began to collapse as the U.S. army pulled out. This was a society and an “army” forged by the U.S. through alliances with an ugly array of regional despots who were “won over” to the U.S. by a combination of bribes, perceived opportunities to increase their power over the people of Afghanistan, and/or rivalries and feuds with the equally reactionary Taliban forces.

What about the liberation of women? It is true that a minority of some Afghan women and girls, especially in the capital Kabul, and few other more urban places, got a chance to get some very basic rights. These rights will now almost certainly be snatched away under the barbaric rule of fanatical Islamic fundamentalism.

But these rights have all along been very partial. reported last year that some two-thirds of Afghan girls still don’t attend school and 87 percent are illiterate. At least 70 to 80 percent are forced into marriage, many before the age of 16. Afghanistan has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. Nearly 90 percent of Afghan women are victims of domestic abuse. Amnesty International calls it one of the worst places in the world to be a woman.

The U.S.-directed “liberation of women” did not and could not strike at the roots of the oppressive patriarchal relations in Afghanistan, nor were they intended to. The fundamental change in the situation of women can only come about from a thoroughgoing communist revolution, in which gender oppression is targeted from the beginning and in which the economic, social, political, and ideological roots are dug up.

The Real Reasons for the U.S. Invasion

In reality the REAL REASON the U.S. invaded and then occupied Afghanistan was as wrote this week:

While this mission was draped in all kinds of honeyed phrases about “spreading democracy” and “liberating women,” in its essence it was about two things:

First, delivering the Mafioso-style message to every other force in the world that if they dared attack the U.S. or even allowed an attack to take place from their soil, they would be destroyed with a vengeance a hundred times worse; and

Second, trying to radically and violently extend U.S. power in a much broader and deeper way into the Middle East and Central Asia and, beyond that, the world. Power that exists to defend a worldwide empire of exploitation, terrible oppression, and destructive plunder of the environment.

Donald Rumsfeld, then Secretary of Defense, explicitly said after 9/11: “Go massive. Sweep it all up. Things related and not.”

The USA was not, is not and never can be the “good guys.”

The defeat of the number one oppressor in the world today is a very good thing. What has been defeated is not “democracy.” It is the defeat of a vicious and ambitious attempt by the capitalist-imperialist ruling class of the U.S. to extend its dominance of the world further and deeper. That is why we welcome this defeat, and why you, and all oppressed people—all who yearn to be free of this capitalist-imperialist U.S. empire, should welcome this defeat too.

#3 The Reactionary Taliban Is A Reactionary Horror for the People, Especially Women;
It Can Only Bring Repression and Horror—
NOT Liberation of Any Kind

But wait, you say—look who’s coming in behind them. The Taliban. And the fact is that the rule of the Taliban WILL be a horror. Do not be lulled by promises of Taliban moderation and blathering in the U.S. liberal media about “with the internet they can’t turn back the clock to the 9th or 14th century.” They can. Islamic fundamentalist theocratic rule is a fucking nightmare and especially for women. Already in an interview with a woman reporter a representative of the Taliban said that women would have to have their faces completely covered behind the Burqa.

Under Taliban rule from 1996 to 2001, women were forced to wear burqas, prevented from going to school after age eight, barred from most work, and couldn’t even go out of their homes without male supervision. Sexual apartheid was practiced throughout society, and women “guilty” of even minor infractions were subject to public floggings, even killed. The Taliban’s atrocities—like stonings of women in stadiums for “crimes” such as adultery—sickened people across the globe. The Taliban targeted people of other religions, even other branches of Islam.

And, no, my enemy’s enemy is not my friend or ally. And no again, that a reactionary movement defeated U.S. imperialism does not make it a positive anti-imperialist force. In actual fact, the Taliban—like the Islamic Republic of Iran—will seek to work with and profit from imperialism and will impose a 9th-century oppressive social order on a 21st-century capitalist base. Islamic fundamentalism is a false path appealing to some who are angry and searching, but it is an important part of keeping the world as it is.

The Taliban are not fighting in any way, shape or form for the liberation of Afghanistan from imperialist oppression. They represent the interests and aspirations of those backward feudal landlords and patriarchs who desperately want a place within that imperialist system for their outmoded way of life.

Bob Avakian has characterized this dynamic in this way:

What we see in contention here with Jihad [Islamic fundamentalism] on the one hand and McWorld/McCrusade [increasingly globalized western imperialism] on the other hand, are historically outmoded strata among colonized and oppressed humanity up against historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system. These two reactionary poles reinforce each other, even while opposing each other. If you side with either of these “outmodeds,” you end up strengthening both.

While this is a very important formulation and is crucial to understanding much of the dynamics driving things in the world in this period, at the same time we do have to be clear about which of these “historically outmodeds” has done the greater damage and poses the greater threat to humanity: It is the historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system, and in particular the U.S. imperialists.

BAsics 1:28

Think about it: Two outmoded ruling classes that reinforce each other, even while opposing each other. They lock the people in what seems like a horrible either/or.

#4 Bringing Forward Another Way:
Humanity Needs Revolution and the New Communism
This Requires You

But this is NOT all there is. There is a liberating alternative, the new communism brought forward by Bob Avakian, which sets forth a road to emancipate all humanity. There is no need to choose between the open enslavement of, and brutality toward women by Islamic fundamentalist jihadism and an imperialist empire that promises an empty “liberation” for a few.

There is no need to keep making your peace with a world in which 6 billion suffer and slave and face the constant threat of repression or death, often forced to flee on the open seas or across the desert for safety or food, so that a relative handful of those who live in the imperialist countries can live lives of privilege, while masses of people even in the U.S. struggle to get by and endure the weight of life-stealing and spirit-crushing exploitation and oppression. A world where, as in Afghanistan and Iraq and too many other places to name, this system is defended by murderous military force. And where the capitalist-imperialist monstrosity of this system destroys the environment, possibly making the earth unlivable—perhaps in this century!

There IS another way. We have to do all we can to make this real by making revolution here and spreading the new communism not just in this country but all over the world. And you have to get into this, learn about it, and support the revolution, be part of spreading that word; and join the revolution. This is true hope—hope on a scientific basis—but it will just remain hope and possibility, and not reality, and the horror will dominate and suffocate and mutilate bodies and spirits, ever more directly threatening our very existence, unless YOU become involved.

Get into the work of Bob Avakian. The Constitution for a New Socialist Republic in North America, which he authored, presents a vision and plan for a new society that will on day one unleash the creativity of the masses of people to go to work on overcoming all forms of exploitation and oppression, protecting the environment, all towards the aim of the emancipation of humanity throughout the world.

As we look with outrage at the horror of what the U.S. did to Afghanistan, as we rightly recoil at the regime of the Taliban, and as we recognize that this defeat for the world’s greatest oppressor, U.S. imperialism, has the potential to further open up the possibility for revolution for a radically different and far better world, recognize this: for any positive resolution to be born of this requires you to get into the scientifically grounded new communism and on that basis to become part of the movement for a real revolution to bring about a future fit for humanity.

We want to conclude with these words from Bob Avakian’s The New Communism:

There is an urgent need for this new synthesis to be taken up, broadly, in this society and in the world as a whole: everywhere people are questioning why things are the way they are, and whether a different world is possible; everywhere people are talking about “revolution” but have no real understanding of what revolution means, no scientific approach to analyzing and dealing with what they are up against and what needs to be done; everywhere people are rising up in rebellion but are hemmed in, let down and left to the mercy of murderous oppressors, or misled onto paths which only reinforce, often with barbaric brutality, the enslaving chains of tradition; everywhere people need a way out of their desperate conditions, but do not see the source of their suffering and the path forward out of the darkness.

Biden calls Afghanistan a “just war,” the U.S. troops as having “valor, courage and integrity”? The farthest thing from reality:

Ghulam shows scars from shrapnel wounds received during U.S. bombing of wedding in Kakarak in July 2002 which killed 25 people. Photo: AP

Afghan villagers stand near a hole in the ceiling of a house in Kakarak, Afghanistan on July 3, 2002 after it was hit by a U.S. bomb. Twenty-five people celebrating a wedding party in the house were killed. Between 2004 and 2018, the U.S. dropped over 38,000 bombs on Afghanistan Photo: AP

Local children look at a U.S special forces member during their raid on a tiny farming village in Konar province, northeast of Kabul. U.S. forces and their Afghan clients terrorized people with such raids or dead-of-night house searches. Photo: AP

A 19-year-old woman named Rokhshana was barbarically stoned to death in a Taliban-controlled village in 2016 for refusing a forced marriage and fleeing with another man. The U.S.’s imperialist war fueled the resurgence of the Taliban and its reactionary, patriarchal Islamic fundamentalism.

November 12, 2008: Atifa Bibi, an Afghan school girl, recovers in a hospital two men threw acid on her in Kandahar as she walked to school. Such vicious misogynist attacks against Afghan women often for stepping outside harsh patriarchal norms (attending school, not wearing the veil, refusing male advances, etc.), are widespread (over 4,000 in 2015) Photo: AP

Afghan children play near the debris of a damaged house after a U.S. drone crashed in Jalalabad, east of Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital. By March 2020, the U.S. had carried out over 12,000 drone strikes in Afghanistan, killing thousands of Afghans. Photo: AP

October 16, 2015: An employee of Doctors Without Borders walks inside the charred remains of the organization's hospital after it was hit by a U.S. airstrike in Kunduz, Afghanistan killing 42 Afghans. By August 2016, some 111,000 people had been killed and over 116,000 injured in the war. Photo: AP

Relatives look at children killed by a 2009 U.S. airstrike in Kandahar. Photo: AP

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