spotAfrica

spotAmericas

spotAsia Pacific

spotEurope

spotMiddle East

spotSouth Asia


All keywords


South Asia keywords:

Afghanistan (188)

Bangladesh (25)

India (83)

Kashmir (29)

Nepal (7)

Pakistan (83)

Sri Lanka (133)

Tamils (10)

Thailand (6)

Tibet (3)

Vietnam (17)

Afghanistan


Highlight keywords  |Print this articlePrint this article
From: The Socialist issue 833, 12 November 2014: We can win 10 an hour

Search site for keywords: Afghanistan - War - US - Occupation - Taliban - Imperialism - Britain

Afghanistan war: A legacy of death and destruction

Niall Mulholland

British combat troops were finally pulled out of Camp Bastion on 27 October, 13 years after the start of the US-led disastrous invasion and occupation of Afghanistan.

The October 2001 western powers' invasion took place weeks after the attacks on the Twin Towers and Pentagon. The subsequent US-led assault on Afghanistan was justified on the pretext of destroying al-Qa'ida's support base, despite the fact that most of the 9/11 attackers came from Saudi Arabia, a close US ally.

The Socialist opposed the invasion and warned it would bring massive loss of life and devastation to Afghanistan and would spawn more terrorism, including in the west. This was borne out by events.

From 2001 to 2013 the invasion and occupation cost between 18-20,000 civilian Afghan lives. Over 400 British soldiers were killed. Combat trauma amongst 150,000 British personnel who served in Afghanistan saw more commit suicide than die on the battle field in 2012. Since 2001, active al-Qa'ida type groups have spread from Central Asia to Pakistan, the Middle East and parts of Africa.

Despite the overwhelmingly pro-war media coverage, a poll in Britain taken in October found 68% think the war was "not worthwhile" and 42% felt Britain was "less safe" as a result.

While 19 billion was wasted on the Afghan war, the Con-Dem government carried out massive austerity cuts at home. And despite the US pouring in $104 billion over the last decade with promises of aid and development, Afghanistan remains one of the poorest countries in the world.

Half of the country's children are acutely malnourished. The few faltering steps towards improving women's rights, including schooling for females, are under attack and being rolled back. In 2011, development agencies declared Afghanistan the most dangerous country in the world for women.

The only real 'success' story is the opium poppy crop, which last year reached a record high, worth $3 billion!

Imperialist aims

The truth is that the lives of Afghans and soldiers are just so much 'collateral damage' to the western powers. The main motivations behind imperialism's bloody actions in Afghanistan were securing a military foothold and influence in the strategic and energy-rich region.

With overwhelming firepower, the US-led 'coalition' quickly removed the reactionary Taliban regime in 2001 (whose origins were to be found in the west's arming and financing of the mujahedeen fighters against Soviet Union occupation in the 1980s). But they failed to suppress general Afghan opposition to foreign occupation or the Taliban's subsequent armed revolt.

The Hamid Karzi regime - reviled by the majority of Afghans as corrupt, brutal and nothing more than a western puppet - was isolated in heavily militarised Kabul.

Realising that it was impossible to subdue the population and that Taliban armed attacks would only escalate as long as occupation continued, the western powers announced troop withdrawals and engineered new elections.

But the heavily rigged elections threatened a bloody conflict along ethnic lines after Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzi, a former World Bank economist, and Abdullah Abdullah, a former foreign minister in Karzai's discredited regime, both claimed victory.

US Secretary of State John Kerry recently forced the two candidates to accept a 'national unity' government or face the cutting off of aid.

Like British imperialism's three previous wars in Afghanistan in the 19th and early 20th century, this latest war also ended in disaster and ignominy for the US and Britain, exposing the limits of their power. But the fighting is not over.

Helmand and Nimroz provinces, which British forces had special responsibility for, are amongst the most violent parts of the country, with over 200 Afghan soldiers and 500 policemen killed this year alone.

Kerry insisted President Ghani sign a pact to allow 12,000 Nato troops, including British 'special forces', to stay in the country to train the Afghan army. Air strikes, drone attacks and special forces operations to 'defend' the pro-western regime will continue.

The formal end of this catastrophic war underscores the fact that only the Afghan masses themselves, with the active solidarity of working people everywhere, can transform their appalling conditions and realise genuine peace, democracy and prosperity.

The formation of strong inde-pendent organisations, with pro-worker and poor polices, can contest corrupt warlords and the reactionary Taliban. But they can also expel imperialism, creating a socialist society, as part of a socialist federation of the region.







Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999