The Spark

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

Afghanistan medical aid workers forced to leave

Aug 2, 2004

The international aid organization, Doctors Without Borders, announced last week that it was withdrawing from Afghanistan. The withdrawal is a protest at the government's lack of action on the grenade attack which killed five of the organization's staff on June 2.

Since March of 2004, at least 44 foreign aid workers have been reported killed in Afghanistan. But, far more Afghanis have been killed than foreign aid workers, who have international agencies to protect them. The Afghan population has no way to avoid attacks from the various competing warlords or former Taliban, not to mention the bombs dropped by U.S. planes, or the raids carried out by heavily armed U.S. Special Forces troops.

The situation before the U.S. invasion was disastrous for the population. Now it is catastrophic. Doctors Without Borders had been doing aid work in Afghanistan for 24 years – during the Russian invasion, during the civil war which followed, and during the rule of the Taliban.

But Doctors Without Borders says actions by the U.S. military have now made the situation impossible for medical aid to be carried out. U.S. warplanes dropped leaflets in the countryside warning Afghanis that they must turn in opponents to the government if they wanted to receive aid, turning aid workers into targets, reinforcing the civil war going on.

Afghanistan is a situation spinning out of control, despite how little the U.S. press reports, unless they want to praise the U.S.-appointed president, Hamid Karzai. In fact, the presidential elections there have been delayed. Karzai has problems with his allies. His warlord partners are squabbling over who will control which parts of Afghanistan.

This is where the U.S. war has led – the war we never hear about.