Do we start with the American invasion twenty years ago? Its objective was to end terrorism as part of the ‘War on Terror’ after the 9-11 attacks the anniversary of which occurs shortly?
Can we usefully employ this timescale of American and NATO interference in the internal affairs of the Afghan people? A prelude to war on Iraq? Should we start a timeline from 2001? If we cannot ignore the transgressions of the Taliban while in power surely we cannot ignore how they came to power in the first place?
Should the timeline begin with the Taliban gaining control in Kabul or must we delve back even further to the government that ruled Afghanistan prior to the rise of the Taliban?
Now I am not a historian and the situation has been complex for a very long time but let’s just simplify things a little bit.
After three Anglo-Afghan wars, a monarchy continued to rule Afghanistan until a bloodless coup was led by General and former Prime minister Mohammed Daoud Khan on July 17, 1973.
Born into the royal family he deposed the King and inaugurated a one-party-style political system installing himself a supreme leader as President of the Republic of Afghanistan.
Economic reforms were promised but failed to materialise as events on the ground became unstable. As President, he led a purge of the soviet aligned Peoples Democratic Party of Afghanistan. One of its leaders was assassinated and several of its officials; arrested. Many went into hiding and led a military coup on April 28, 1978, deposing Daoud Khan. He and his family were killed and a secular communist government was then established.
With Afghanistan now led by a secular, pro soviet government at the height of the cold war between American capitalism and Soviet communist ideologies, the stage was being set for a proxy war financed by America to destabilise the country and trap Soviet troops in a Vietnam type quagmire of military entanglement.
Many analysts and historians have claimed that the Central Intelligence Agency set out to recruit arm finance and train Islamic fundamentalists? People who through their religious outlook and practices similar to the type of Islam practiced by Saudi Arabia could be radicalised in order to incentivise an armed opposition to the government of Afghanistan. While opposition to the communist government was already established it was about to be fully financed by America, Saudi Arabia, and others. Pakistan was already a haven for the Afghan opposition.
Under Operation Cyclone the Central Intelligence Agency of America financed and armed the Afghan opposition between 1979 and 1989.
A civil war erupted between ‘the Mujahideen’ who were led by among others, Ahmad Shah Massoud joined later by Saudi Arabian, Osama Bin Laden, and the secular government of Afghanistan who had invited the Soviet Army into Afghanistan to help restore order.
The protagonists were ready. The stage was set the actors employed armed and financed and the war began in earnest.The Mujahideen trained and financed by the American government and others succeeded in destroying the secular government.
The Taliban took control of Kabul.
Human rights were repressed and women especially were forced to conform to Islamic law.
America won the proxy war. Their surrogate army which repressed women and arguably de-evolved human rights by 100 years seized power and the American administration was full of self-congratulatory smugness.
Then began the systemic misrule of Afghanistan by the reactionary forces of Islam, the Taliban
The Mujahideen, a collection of opposition forces then began an internal struggle between the Northern Alliance forces and the Taliban in 1996. This struggle ended with the American-led invasion of 2001.
Pakistan and its Inter-Services Intelligence agency ISI played a major role on behalf of America during the Mujahideen revolt and harbored its leaders.
Many of those who fought on the side of the Afghan Mujahideen were not even Afghans but Islamic extremists from many other Arab countries.
With claims of Al Qaeda Islamic militants now training in Afghanistan, and the country a hotbed for fundamental Islamists, America blamed Bin Laden and others for the 9-11 attacks on the twin towers. Although nearly all those accused of perpetrating this atrocity were Saudi Arabian and the only planes allowed to leave America in the immediate aftermath of the attacks were Osama bin Laden’s family. America duly attacked Afghanistan. This was despite claims the Taliban had offered to help America hold those responsible to account!
The Taliban had been part of the Mujahideen front which took control of Afghanistan. The Taliban now controlled 90% of the country while various warlords and drugs gangs involved in the Northern Alliance controlled the countries northeast corner.
The puppets of American imperialism the Mujahideen, now the Taliban, went from Washington’s brave fighters for freedom to the terrorists who needed to be rooted out and destroyed when America and its allies bombed parts of Afghanistan back to the stone age.
A twenty-year invasion and occupation costing an estimated 2 trillion dollars alongside countless allied and Afghan deaths have finally ended.
American troops withdrew in a negotiated humiliating retreat on August 31 2021.
I asked at the beginning of this piece, What next for Afghanistan?
Well, I fear more violence destabilisation death, and destruction.
With the Taliban are now back in charge of affairs in Afghanistan amid claims that they want to pursue national reconciliation with the Northern Alliance who would benefit from the disruption of this initiative?
The new Sino -Soviet cooperation in rebuilding an economic supply line into a revitalised economic Eurasia will be a focal point of American and European sanctions and destruction.
American troops may well have left Afghanistan. No more NATO boots on the ground but the economic cooperation policies pursued by China and Russia to include vast investment in infrastructure projects throughout Eurasia to include Afghanistan may yet see a new proxy war aimed at the Taliban government but in reality, it will be yet another war against Russian and now Chinese economic cooperation in the region.
While Nato and America pursue a military dominance in a hegemonic new unipolar world order, Russia, China, and increasingly many others from Iran to Venezuela pursue a cooperative multipolar mutually benefitting economic strategy. America will use every vestige of influence along with the EU to destroy destabilise and attack the new Belt and Road initiative led by China and supported by most Eurasian and African countries.
The war on terror is nothing more than a capitalist-imperialist attack on democracy and the freedom of sovereign nations led by those who claim to cherish democracy and freedom yet they continually bomb invade sanction murder displace and maim millions all in the name of humanitarian intervention.
I fear Afghanistan will not see peace and stability. I fully expect the Northern Alliance and now Al Qaeda in Afghanistan ISIS-K - to give it its American name - to be used and directed by America to disrupt the Belt and Road initiative and have continued war in the region.
|Fra Hughes is a Freelance journalist-author-commentator-political activist.|
He blogs @ The North Belfast Journal: A View From Napoleon's Nose.
Follow on Twitter @electfrahughes
Not one mention of the 3m Afghan girls who received an education, previously denied to them, in the last 20 years. No mention of the opportunities that then opened up for them in politics, the judiciary, journalism and entrepreneurship. No mention of the betrayal of the lives and, most likely, the physical existence of women, as a result of the precipitate withdrawal of the US military.ReplyDelete
There was a lot that was bad about Afghanistan in the last 20 years, egregious corruption being the biggest black spot and there was much that was good such as the afore-mentioned advances in women's rights.
But such nuances and, I guess, bourgeois notions like human rights and women's emancipation never do feature in Fra's narratives about perpetual Great Power struggles in Central Asia with the West as the perpetual aggressor(s).
"Its objective was to end terrorism as part of the ‘War on Terror’ after the 9-11 attacks the anniversary of which occurs shortly?"ReplyDelete
No it wasn't. They wanted régime change in various countries long before 9/11. Afghanistan was chosen for many different geopolitical reasons. 9/11 was an excuse for a war without end, to sate the US military industrial complex.
I disagree. Afghanistan was the base from where Al-Qaeda operations were organised including 9/11. One can argue that the initial response to the terror attacks in the long term segued into the mission creep of "forever war" but to reduce it to the desire to save the US military complex smacks too much of conspiracist myth.
I'm with you .... Barry is with the Woolich.
No it wasn't. They wanted régime change in various countries long before 9/11.
Quiller's here is the Wiki page about PNAC (Project for the New American Century0 where they documented what they wanted to do and how they were going to it. There is an interview of Netanyahu in the late 80's talking about the axis of evil (lost the bookmark!!! )
Afghanistan was chosen for many different geopolitical reasons.
Such as the poopy fields and Big Pharma, Afghanistan’s Multibillion Dollar Opium Trade, Rising Heroin Addiction in the US .
9/11 was an excuse for a war without end, to sate the US military industrial complex.
Stevie, grab a beer and watch this 16min video from The CorberttReport. If your good lady ask's "what are you doing?" Tell her research. You can thank me later....
"to the desire to save the US military complex smacks too much of conspiracist myth."
Who said anything about saving? I said sate as in satisfy. This isn’t a conspiracy theory, hell, even Eisenhower warned about this when he retired. The US Military-Industrial complex is well known and understood, and as such needs no more elaboration from myself.
As Frankie and I have pointed out, there was many different strategic reasons for hitting Afghanistan. If they really wanted to go solely after AQ, there were a lot of different countries that they were established in, and were easier militarily conquered but ignored due to less importance.
I even posted a link recently were the US General was baffled why they choose Afghanistan after 911.
He was probably then unaware of the Minerals, the vast produce capabilities for the Opium trade and the strategic oil pipeline from south to central Asia which is enormous, but you can be sure that fact didn’t escape the neo-cons or the MIC and Petro companies in the US.
"The war on terror is nothing more than a capitalist-imperialist attack on democracy and the freedom of sovereign nations"ReplyDelete
Afghanistan has never been a democracy. Afghanistan has barely the natural resources to exist as a soveriegn state and not enough to provide its citizens with anything other than primitive standards. Outside of its main population centres it is unable to provide rural communities with more than they can provide for themselves. Putting human rights abuses aside the Taliban are only offering to maintain a primitive way of life that even the Americans could not improve outside of Afgan cities and large towns. Much of Afganistan may never see the coming of fluoridated running water, the flushing lavatory or wheelybin collection day.
There are mineral deposits in the NW (I think) of Afghanistan which will surely be of interest to China and Russia now that the West is off the scene.Delete
Yes Barry, but I doubt that will have any significant difference on the levels of poverty and primitive live styles of the masses. I'm not sure if even a gold rush would have much of an impact.Delete
This is an interesting article that you might like to read. It looks like Beijing is already eyeing it off for similar reasons I stated above.
Interesting read, and I agree with its conclusion that the Taliban/Afgan psychic pose a real barrier to progress regardless of what benefits its natural resources can bring. Take the last 20 years of military presence out of the equation and consider what has 100s of billions of investment done to raise the living standards in Afghanistan? Nothing once you remove women's contribution and participation.
Yes I can see your point Christy, but I wonder if the velvet glove Beijing will use will produce more beneficial results for them.Delete
I expect Beijing could make inroads with the Taliban but I don't see it resulting in fundamental change for afgan way of life. New population centres might arise to provide the workforce for mining and national GDP might improve but it will still take decades to move Afghanistan into the 21st century, if at all.
Essentially Afghanistan has not gone through its own internal historical moments that create fundamental change, for example, citizen charters, suffragette movements, civil rights and introduction of welfare/state aid incentives for various sectors of society. Until progressive society is big enough and strong enough to overshadow the likes of the Taliban then Afghanistan is going nowhere.
Afghanistan pre-9/11 was the epicentre of Al-Qaeda as the war against the USSR was the original spur for jihadi radicalisation Bin Laden's cave networks functioned as a junction box for all Al-Qaeda operations. It thus made sense to put them out of business and the 9/11 atrocities were good prima facie evidentiary reason for doing so.
Sating (sorry for the misunderstanding in spelling) the military industrial complex may well have been a factor but attacking the Al-Qaeda infrastructure in Afghanistan and the Taliban regime which shielded it was the logical and correct thing to do. The mistakes were made afterwards.
You do know the Taliban offered to hand over OBL upon proof of AQ involvement, right?
The mentality and ideology emerges from society, economy, and production relations, not the inverse. The world unequal interchange and interventions, or imperialism, and the local client elites, do'nt allow an economic and social development and modernisation, and this causes the strenght of reactionary ideologiesReplyDelete
I agree, and that's why I am predicting China will have more luck in Afghanistan using friendship than the old Imperial powers have had in the past.
I agree. But until Afganistani progressive society overshadows the backward thinkers who control Afghanistan it will remain a primitive society even if lucrative trade deals are struck with China or others. Infact, even if trillions of dollars were flowing into the country, that would probably secure the future of the Taliban for at least another generation.
Perhaps, until the Taliban solidify their return there is a small window of opportunity for progressives to resist them in any meaningful way. We have already seen Taliban brutality on protestorscand journalists... that is evidence of the same old Taliban who need to terrorise people into conforming. But can progressives maintain and increase their passive resistance to undermine the Taliban re-establishing itself?
But the AQ infrastructure would have remained untouched. The murder of the Northern Alliance commander Massoud in the days before the 9/11 atrocities is proof that the Taliban knew what was being planned and by taking out such a legendary opponent were preparing for the inevitable US and allied response.
I would no more have trusted the Taliban to hand over OBL than I would their current promises to respect women's rights.
What makes you think that China will behave any different from past imperial powers in Afghanistan bearing in mind its aggressive posturing in the South China Sea and towards Taiwan?
Because they are not stupid. They have seen the West and the Soviets fail militarily to rule Afghanistan and learned lessons. Have you ever read The Art of War? They take it's lessons very literally. They know they have a good chance of securing resources by supplying the very things the Taliban want. Money and to be taken seriously on the international stage. With China's backing/control they would have both. The posturing in the South China sea is misdirection, Beijing wants eyes away from it's One Belt&Road initiative. Sticking military outposts on reefs is symbolic nothing more. They know that if it became a hot war missile strikes would render them unusable from the start. Taiwan is where the last of the old regime retreated to and they will be dealt with when Beijing feels it is the right time.
The new York times are reporting that the "righteous" strike against Isis in retaliation for Kabul actually killed ten civilians, including seven kids and an aid worker. Because of actions like this over the last twenty years, the uncomfortable truth is support for the Taliban will be far higher than we like to pretend it is. Certainly higher than it was in 2001.ReplyDelete