The Spark

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

Afghanistan:
Withdrawal or Not, U.S. Interests Remain the Same

Apr 12, 2021

President Joe Biden has said that removing troops by the deadline of May 1 will be “tough.”

The deadline, set by the Trump administration in February 2020, is fast approaching, with no moves being made for the withdrawal of troops.

Meantime, talks are supposedly taking place in Istanbul between the U.S., the Taliban, and the Afghanistan government, to work out a power-sharing agreement leading up to a more permanent government.

Some have pointed out that the “Taliban” isn’t even the same Taliban—it’s a collection of local warlords and their militias, not one cohesive organization. So who is negotiating, and for what?

Officials and analysts warn that if the U.S. leaves “too quickly,” chaos could descend on Afghanistan.

Chaos? Really? U.S. involvement has brought nothing BUT chaos!

The U.S. war in Afghanistan has been dragging on for nearly 20 years. During that time, the entire country has seen continued fighting. The U.S. was able to throw the Taliban out of power relatively easily, but defeating them has proven much more difficult. The government the U.S. set up is a paper doll, ready to blow away as soon as the U.S. stops propping it up; it can barely control the capital city of Kabul, let alone the whole country!

And, in fact, U.S. meddling in Afghanistan started long before it invaded at the end of 2001. Starting in 1979, it armed and funded various right-wing militias (the mujahedeen) for years, fighting against the Soviet-backed government and then the Soviet army—dragging the USSR into its own Vietnam-like quagmire in the country. Those same U.S.-backed militias later formed the Taliban—the repressive fundamentalist group that the U.S. later went to war against.

For over 40 years, Afghanistan has known nothing but war and repression. The very fabric of civil society, the state and its infrastructure, has been torn apart. And the U.S. has been right there in the middle of it.

U.S. policy has remained the same toward Afghanistan, through administration after administration. Bush started the latest war, but Obama kept it going through eight more years. Trump talked about withdrawing, but the U.S. was still there when his term ended. And now, Biden makes it clear that the U.S. will keep its hand in under his watch.

Officially, 2,500 U.S. troops remain in the country today, though the number of private military contractors—mercenaries—is surely much larger. And they are likely to remain, no matter whether the official troops are removed or not.

One way or another, the U.S. wants to retain control in the country and influence in the region. Everything it has done, it has done for its own economic and political interests. Not the “fight against terrorism,” not to free the population. It will continue to serve those interests, no matter the consequences to the populations, either in Afghanistan or in the United States.

If it’s debating whether to pull troops out, or how, or what kind of presence to keep, that’s all tactics. For the millions of people in Afghanistan who have had to live through years of destruction and death created by the U.S., it won’t make a damn bit of difference.