The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Editorial:
Afghanistan Aflame

Aug 20, 2018

The U.S. war in Afghanistan has been raging for almost 17 years, the longest war in U.S. history. But this war is far from over. Look at what the news reported for just one day, August 15.

In Kabul, the capital, a suicide bomber detonated explosives hidden in his vest inside a classroom at a university preparatory course. The bomb killed 48 teenagers and wounded 67 more. This bombing is part of a wider campaign. With more than 1,000 schools destroyed and thousands of students killed, this is a war that has engulfed the entire Afghan population.

On that same day, 100 miles from Kabul, Afghan Army units, along with U.S. Special Forces and the U.S. Air Force, fought to take control of the city of Ghazni, an important urban center with 280,000 people. The insurgents had held the city for almost a week, a victory for them. In the battle, both sides destroyed big parts of the city. Hundreds of bodies rotted in the streets for a week or were thrown in the river. After the battle, most insurgents did not leave. They melted back into the population, ready to fight again.

Finally, in the north of the country, other insurgent forces destroyed an Afghan Army base and a police checkpoint. Out of a base force of more than 100 soldiers and police, only 22 survived.

And that’s just one day! Even U.S. government officials admit the war is getting worse, more violent and bloody, with more of the country aflame.

This war is stamped “Made in the USA.”

The U.S. military started this war in October, 2001, when it decided to invade Afghanistan. U.S. officials picked Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries on earth, because it seemed like a convenient target to demonstrate U.S. military power, following the 9/11 terrorist attacks six weeks before.

But this invasion lit the fuse to a powder keg. It shattered an already war-torn country. It allowed warlords and gangsters on all sides, who hide their greed behind a thin veil of religious fanaticism, to tear the country apart.

Worst of all, this violence was fueled by outside powers, with the U.S. in the lead. The U.S. government has poured more than a trillion dollars into this war. That buys a lot of bombs and bullets. It also buys warlords and their armies... at least for a while. Moreover, such U.S. allies as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, as well as their rivals, like Iran, have gotten into the action, using Afghanistan as a proxy for their own power struggles.

How many times have we heard a U.S. president declare that they have achieved peace in Afghanistan? Bush did it at the beginning of the war. When Obama took office in 2009, he proclaimed that a U.S. military surge of 100,000 soldiers would do the trick.

Now it’s Trump’s turn. In August 2017, Trump announced that he was deepening U.S. involvement in the war – boasting that he will supposedly achieve peace through victory – and other nonsense.

Under Trump, the U.S. military dropped the most powerful conventional weapon in the U.S. arsenal. But even the U.S. military’s biggest bombs haven’t stopped the insurgents from gaining control over more of the country than ever before. On the contrary, the death and destruction of the U.S. war pushes more people to join the insurgents.

This war is not a mistake or an accident. The proof is all the other horrible wars in the region that the U.S. is involved in, such as Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, to name a few. These wars were started and continued by the U.S. and the other big imperial powers trying to impose their domination over an oil-rich and strategic region.

These wars are a cancer eating away at the entire world, including in this country. More generations will pay the price for this barbaric system until the working class mobilizes its forces to get rid of it.