the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist
“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx
Feb 28, 2022
President Joe Biden issued an executive order on February 10 to take control of 7 billion dollars in Afghan central bank assets in U.S. banks. The Biden administration has been blocking those assets since the U.S. pullout in August. The Biden administration now says that half of that money would go to relatives of victims of the 9/11 attacks; and that the other half would be used for humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.
It is in fact quite outrageous that the U.S. has been blocking money that belongs to the Afghan government, when 95% of Afghans, nearly 40 million people, don’t have enough to eat, and experts estimate that 9 million Afghans are at risk of starvation!
But it’s not a surprise, considering that the 20-year war the U.S. fought in Afghanistan has wrought this catastrophe on the people of Afghanistan in the first place.
When the U.S. attacked Afghanistan in October 2001, it said that its aim was to fight terrorism by punishing the Taliban government of Afghanistan for supporting the 9/11 attackers. But even though that government fell quickly within weeks, the U.S. continued its war on Afghanistan for 20 years.
It’s because the U.S. war on Afghanistan was not about fighting terrorism. Being attacked on its own soil on 9/11, the U.S. picked this war to re-assert its position as the biggest imperialist power in the world. But after knocking out the Taliban government, the U.S. continued to occupy Afghanistan just to prop up the government it had installed—a government so corrupt and brutal that it provoked opposition and civil war in practically all parts of the country and needed the U.S. military to stay in power.
In other words, what began as a show of force by U.S. imperialism turned into the longest war in U.S. history because a U.S. pullout would make the U.S. look weak once again—what the U.S. wanted to avoid in the first place. And sure enough, that’s exactly what happened when the U.S.-installed Afghan government collapsed within days when U.S. troops left Afghanistan!
But the price of this imperialist muscle-flexing was paid by the Afghan population—and it was an enormous price. In 2001, when the U.S. attacked Afghanistan, the country had already been ravaged by more than 20 years of war; and it was one of the world’s poorest countries. Twenty more years of war, this time led by the U.S., further devastated the country and killed an estimated 212,000 people (more than 70 times the number of people killed in the 9/11 attacks), according to the Costs of War Project from Brown University.
And it’s not over. Being pushed out of Afghanistan, the U.S. now wants to punish the Taliban government that has come back to power again—by blocking Afghan government funds and imposing an economic embargo on the country. It’s a continuation of the U.S. war on Afghanistan—once again victimizing the people of Afghanistan, this time condemning millions of people to starvation.
This is the price humanity pays in a world dominated by imperialist powers—first and foremost the U.S. in today’s world. We have to try and stop these imperialist wars, whose horrific price, in both lives and money, is paid by working-class and poor people, in the countries attacked by the U.S., as well as here in the U.S.