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Desperate Measures Won't Stop Terrorism
AFTER WEEKS of bombing made no tangible progress in removing the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, US strategists have turned to carpet-bombing Taliban front lines using B-52 aircraft.
This desperate step, although undoubtedly killing many Taliban troops, has been reported to be increasing the cohesiveness of those same troops and their determination to fight back.
While failing to score successes with the air assault, the US and its supporting international coalition has also failed to make progress in cobbling together a post-Taliban leadership for Afghanistan.
Following the capture and killing of Afghan opposition leader, Abdul Haq, a second attempt at rallying opposition in Taliban areas led by Afghan exile and American businessman, Hamed Karzai, ended in failure and retreat.
The US has so far not managed to place a significant number of its own troops on the ground. And in a drive to satisfy its war-mongering promises, is now reported to be planning to supply the opposition Northern Alliance forces with large amounts of weaponry and other military equipment. This is another desperate step, reversing their previous hesitation about building up the Alliance forces while they tried to bring about a broader opposition coalition.
With a resolution to the military campaign far from sight, tensions are mounting in the international 'anti-terrorism' coalition.
UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, has warned that US strikes could undermine the coalition and Megawati Sukarnoputri, president of Indonesia, has called for a ceasefire. They fear the growing anger against the escalating bombing raids amongst ordinary people, especially in mainly Muslim countries.
It is widely obvious that the slaughter being carried out in Afghanistan is doing nothing to reduce the threat of further terrorist attacks. Osama bin Laden's network functions in many countries of the world, and in any case western government intelligence agencies are warning that terrorist units which are not under Bin Laden's command structure could strike at any moment.
And while the terrorist threat remains and is increased by the US action, there is daily news of intense suffering of millions of Afghan people who face starvation, disease and displacement. Oxfam has reported the first deaths from starvation in a remote Northern Afghanistan province. These will be added to by many tens of thousands more as the US bombs prevent aid agencies from delivering food and as neighbouring states attempt to keep their borders closed.
In a cruel demonstration of the hypocrisy of US imperialism, bright yellow cluster bombs are being dropped which are the same colour and size as their so-called 'humanitarian' food parcels, making confusion between the two a possibility.
Prestige and power
This war is being fought in the interests of the prestige and power of world imperialism and not those of working class people in the US or any other country of the world. Socialists must join with others in the anti-war movement, to help build its spread and strength as rapidly as possible.
But we must also recognise that no capitalist government in the world or international capitalist agency can offer the people of Afghanistan a future free of war and poverty. Neither can they begin to solve the threat of terrorism in the world, which exists solely as a result of their policies. Never before has it been more necessary to explain and argue the need for socialism, as the only way forward for a decent life for the whole of humanity.
In The Socialist 9 November 2001: