By a commentator for Tjen Folket Media.
The occupation of Afghanistan started when the US initiated Operation Enduring Freedom in the country on October 7, 2001. For nearly 18 years, the US, with the help of its allies (among them Norway), have waged war in the country. When they invaded the country, it was to remove the Taliban regime from power. 18 years later, the Taliban may be on its way back to government power, with the US’s blessing.
New ISIS-Caliphate and Taliban in Government?
The official goal in attacking Afghanistan was to destroy Bin Laden’s Salafist organization Al Qaeda after its attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Bin Laden’s network had bases in Afghanistan. Today, Al Qaeda remains active in Afghanistan, but the US and the Western powers are more concerned about the newcomer ISIS that after its defeat in Syria has reorganized itself in Afghanistan. ISIS is now the official reason that the US wishes to negotiate with the Taliban.
VG writes that:
The Islamic State has lost its caliphate in Syria and Iraq, but is in the process of building a new one to the Northeast in Afghanistan.
VG also reports that a security expert now sees the Taliban as a potential partner in the war against ISIS, as these two groups have had differing views on a number of theological questions and tactics, and fight over the same recruits and areas.
An American intelligence officer in Kabul says, according to the newspaper, that the hope is that a negotiation will bring the Taliban into the government and thereby also in the fight against ISIS. The official also says on the Taliban that:
They know the mountains, the know the terrain. This is their territory.
US Imperialism is Decaying and Riddled with Defeat
This is the situation after 18 years of intervention and occupation. It is an almost open declaration of defeat. US imperialism is not in any condition to win such wars. And it is becoming clearer that the goal for US imperialism is not complete victory either, but only to achieve temporary victories and to “tread water”.
Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen are other examples of what US imperialism entails. And it must serve as evidence and a warning each time the US sets out with its war propaganda, for instance against Venezuela, North Korea, or Iran.
Under the headline of “Instability in Afghanistan“, NRK wrote on July 1 this year that
the Taliban and ISIS have stepped up their attacks on both civilian and military targets in Afghanistan. Several hundred people have been killed in a number of suicide bombings in many parts of the country.
Peace with Imperialism Means Defeat for the People
As in the case of Mali, all opposition to occupation is portrayed as Islamist, but we don’t know who is responsible for all the attacks on foreign occupiers. Opposition to occupation is always justified. Peace with imperialists is no peace at all; it is a capitulation to a system that plunders and murders. If imperialists achieve “peace” on one front, it only means that they can escalate a war on another front.
In the case of Afghanistan, if the opposition shrinks, then US imperialism can concentrate on more war mongering against Iran and Venezuela, on low-intensity conflicts in Africa or Latin America, on the war in Yemen, and most likely on new wars. In other words, the world’s people have nothing to gain from peace between the Taliban and the US, even if the Taliban are reactionaries.
Peace Negotiations in Norway?
On July 8, NRK wrote an issue on potential Afghan peace negotiations in Oslo:
Norway wishes to host Afghanistan talks [in Norwegian]
An interesting aspect of the negotiations for Afghanistan’s political future is that the US is negotiating with the Taliban, but the Afghan government, which is currently in power only because the US removed the Taliban, will not participate in the negotiations. NRK writes that:
The US is negotiating directly with the Taliban, and therefore it is a dialogue conference. What both processes have in common is that the government, up until now, has been held outside of the talks.
The excuse is that the Taliban refuses to negotiate with the sitting government. And the Taliban says that their representatives are participating as private individuals only. This is all while attacks that the Taliban has claimed responsibility for are being carried out.
NRK writes that retired diplomat Kai Eide says Norway is known in wider circles for having the best expertise on Afghanistan.
Who Controls Afghanistan Now?
Al Jazeera, a news channel owned by Qatari authorities that are in conflict with Saudi Arabia and have military ties to both Iran and Turkey, have published an overview of who controls what in Afghanistan as of July 2019:
They write that the authorities control a little over half of the country, while the rest is either contested or is controlled by the Taliban. It must be underscored that there are very many hostilities underway in the entire country, even in the areas that the US claims that authorities and occupiers control. For instance, there have been several attacks in the capital city of Kabul in this month alone.
Tjen Folket Media has earlier this year written on Norway’s role in the occupation, and how Norwegian authorities themselves claim that the operation in Afghanistan has been a relative disaster, besides having strengthened relations to the US.
Chairman Gonzalo maintains that the status between imperialists and capitalists is a contradiction between fighting and negotiations, between competition and cooperation, where the fighting is the primary side. The diplomacy around Afghanistan is a manifestation of the secondary side, of cooperation between reactionaries. The struggle between them is primary, something that 18 years of war have shown.
200 Years of Invasion, Intervention, and Opposition
Before this war, Afghanistan was burdened by other wars. Official sources indicate that there was a civil war between 1996 and 2001, and that before this, there had been civil wars and proxy wars from 1989 until 1996, where the US and the Soviet Union/Russia and Pakistan took part, and the country was at war with the invading imperialist Soviet Union from 1979 until 1989.
Before this, Afghanistan has had a history with over 150 years of the British Empire fighting against local rulers for dominance, and there were a number of national liberation wars and upheavals. Other imperialists, like Russia, Germany, the US, and others were also involved. Today, China is increasingly active in the country, and Chinese diplomats have been working towards getting the Taliban to the negotiating table, and eventually in government, for a long time.
The situation in Afghanistan is no mystery. It is a country where people -where the masses – have fought fiercely against colonialism, imperialism, and invasion for 200 years. It is a country that, due to its position and geography, has been important for imperialists and difficult to take control over. Afghanistan is a country that shows that wherever there is oppression, there will be resistance, and that the masses – even the poorest and most oppressed, and perhaps particularly them – will never kneel to anybody.
Furthermore, Afghanistan shows that the death knell is ringing for imperialism, and that we will never see peace under the sun within this system. US imperialism no longer wins wars, at least not any decisive or lasting victories. Even in the poorest countries, the most reactionary group of religious and feudal rulers can mete out massive losses to the world’s largest war machine.
The violent poverty and war in Afghanistan can only be blamed on foreign imperialism. One can draw lines back to the British invasion in 1839, known in England as “the disaster in Afghanistan“, where the British East-India Company lead a war against the Emir of Afghanistan. The capitalist imperialist tapped the country for nourishment even before then.
War is a continuation of politics by other means, and politics are concentrated economy. The wars we see are a manifestation of the ruling classes’ economic interests. There are no literal dollars and cents to be made on the war in Afghanistan, but the country has resources and a central position in Asia. Russia and Iran want gas pipelines running through the country and China wishes to build a road for the transport of goods through the country.
The Great Game Anew
According to the Wikipedia article on the East India Company’s invasion in 1839, the “Great Game”, where Great Britain competed with Russia for imperialist influence in Central Asia (and ultimately, for the entirety of Asia) was to blame. Russia’s foothold in Central Asia and Afghanistan was seen as a threat against Great Britain’s colonial empire in India (and what is today Pakistan and Bangladesh).
Today’s conflicts in the region have been called “the Great Game renewed”. The Soviet Union’s defeat in Afghanistan in 1989 and the entire empire’s fall in 1991 weakened Russian imperialism in Central and West Asia, and the US opened the fight for moving its position in the region forward with the First Gulf War in 1991. The US Congress has passed the “Silk Road Strategy Act” for US imperialism’s long-term plans in the region. On the other hand, China has its own silk road plan for building a secure route for goods transports from China to Europe through Central Asia.
This is the background for the wars in Afghanistan. The primary contradiction is between the Afghan people and foreign imperialism, primarily US imperialism. The war has taken the form of a justified national liberation war, and it is objectively situated as a part of the world revolution.
Secondary is the contradiction between fractions of the Afghan ruling class, between different groups of feudal rulers and bureaucrat capitalists, along with those between the different foreign imperialists – particularly Russia against the US and China against the US, but with Germany and Great Britain active as well. Even smaller imperialists like Norway are active in the country.
No Peace Without Revolution
200 years with invasions, intervention, wars, and struggles have made Afghanistan a tragic, but also heroic example of how imperialism means war. Only peoples’ war for new democracy and socialism, under the leadership of a militarized Maoist communist party can liberate Afghanistan from imperialism and feudalism. Only when the entire world is communist, will we see a lasting peace, and a harmonic and sustainable development of humanity and our planet.
The Communist (Maoist) Party of Afghanistan – C(m)PA – fights for building this revolutionary movement and to initiate the people’s war in Afghanistan. Shola Jawid is their main organ and can be read in English here:
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