A colossal failure of western capitalism

Fight for a socialist alternative

Former Taliban fighters return their weapons 2012. Photo: isafmedia/CC

Former Taliban fighters return their weapons 2012. Photo: isafmedia/CC   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

After two decades of military occupation and trillions of dollars spent by western governments, millions of Afghans are now back to where they were in 2001 – under the brutal rule of the Taliban.

Yet the capitalist politicians responsible for this tragic debacle – Messrs Tony Blair, George Bush, and others – continue to defend this colossal failure. And today’s crop of establishment politicians, including Johnson and Starmer, also defend the western invasion and occupation of Afghanistan in 2001.

In contrast, a recent survey in Britain shows a majority of the public consider the invasion and occupation by Nato forces to have been a waste of many lives and much money.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Afghans who loyally served the US and British occupiers throng Kabul airport, desperate to flee the inevitable retribution from the Taliban. Several have already died in the crush or fallen to their death clinging to the undercarriage of aircraft taking off.

Home Secretary Priti Patel says she’ll allow a few thousand to resettle in the UK, but over a five-year period. How can Afghans associated with British forces or the previous Ghani government remain hidden for five years!

And what was the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab doing when the rotten Ghani government collapsed like a house of cards? Lounging in a luxury five-star resort! Not only couldn’t he be bothered to call officials in Kabul, he reportedly refused to get off his sun lounger and return immediately to London and deal with the evacuation crisis. Yet Downing Street says it has “full confidence” in Raab!

Typical Tories. They look after ‘number one’ and let everyone else sink into the quagmire of their failed capitalist policies.

As the Socialist warned before the 2001 US and British invasion of Afghanistan, it was to serve the western powers’ geopolitical interests – not directly to liberate Afghans from the tyrannical rule of the Taliban.

Nato officials complain about reported human rights abuses under the new Taliban regime. But what do they say, and do, about the lack of human rights, the cruel punishments and public executions by the Saudi Arabian regime? Nothing. In fact, western governments continue to arm this brutal regime simply because it is, broadly speaking, compliant with western capitalist interests in the region.

It’s clear from the experience of working-class and poor people in Afghanistan, and indeed in many other countries, past and present, that capitalism cannot guarantee democratic rights or decent living standards. That requires ordinary working-class people uniting behind a socialist banner and fighting for fundamental change.

  • See: ‘The Taliban takeover – what are the lessons for the workers’ movement internationally’
  • Also: ‘Unite to fight for funding for refugees and local communities’