Feb 18, 2002
On February 14, the minister for aviation and tourism of Afghanistan’s shaky new government was killed at the airport for the capital city of Kabul. At first, the news media reported that the minister had been killed by a mob of hundreds of people who had been prevented from going on a pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
However, the next day Afghanistan’s Prime Minister charged that other top officials of his own government, including two generals and a Justice Ministry official, had participated in “assassinating” the aviation and tourism minister under cover of the actions of the angry pilgrims.
Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul has been the only place in the country where U.N. peacekeeping forces are being used to give an appearance of order – thus helping to prop up the new government the U.S. has installed. This violence between members of factions within the very highest levels of Afghanistan’s government shows how shaky that government is.
In the rest of the country, the violent struggle for power between local warlords and political factions is much more open. The recent destruction of the Taliban-led central government by U.S.-supported mini-armies of tens of these local warlords has in many ways returned Afghanistan to the same situation that the country faced before the Taliban came to power. In recent weeks there has been open warfare between two or more of these competing mini-armies in at least a half dozen cities and in tens, if not hundreds, of towns and villages all over Afghanistan. Hundreds of people have been killed in the fighting between local warlords’ armies. Tens of thousands of refugees returning to Afghanistan, mostly from neighboring Pakistan, have been crowding into Kabul, despite the fact that it is largely destroyed, because they say they feel safer there than in their former cities, towns and villages where this gang warfare is underway.
The U.S. has pretended that the object of its military action in Afghanistan was to rid the country of terrorism and establish a stable “democratic” government. But to get rid of the Taliban, the U.S. used warlords who had already proven their readiness to turn the country into a bloody killing ground.
No one should be surprised that this is now what they are doing.