Feb 19, 2007
President Bush announced recently that he has extended the tour of duty of a brigade of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division in Afghanistan that was about to return home. In addition, a brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division will soon go to Afghanistan, boosting U.S. troops there to 27,000. This does not include all the CIA agents, mercenaries and private armies that the U.S. government and corporations have in the country.
Bush is also asking Congress to approve another almost 12 billion dollars to increase the size of the Afghan national police force and to more than double the size of the Afghan army. He claims one of the benefits of this will be a greater suppression of the cultivation of poppies and the production and trading of heroin. But it is well known that the police are deeply involved in the drug trade themselves. In fact, this money will go toward suppressing the population.
The problem for the U.S. is that, like in Iraq, its war in Afghanistan has produced a backlash. Today, the U.S. claims the Taliban is making a comeback, controlling an increasing share of the country. In fact, it’s undoubtedly a combination of forces, not just the Taliban alone. But in any case, the U.S. says last year was the most violent year in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led invasion that overthrew the Taliban shortly after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001. Attacks on U.S., NATO and Afghan government forces nearly tripled last year from the year before. Now, the military forces of the U.S. puppet government, which have never really controlled most of the country, are facing attacks even in Kabul, the capital.
It is not surprising that resistance to the U.S. and its government is increasing because conditions for most ordinary people in the country have been made desperate by this war. Even before the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, the population was suffering and extremely poor due to years of warfare in the 1980s between government forces backed by the USSR and insurgents financed and trained by the U.S. After the fall of the Soviet-backed government, people suffered more as the warlords fought each other. Eventually the Taliban came to power in part because, despite its brutal religious fundamentalism, it largely ended the conflicts between the warlords.
The U.S. went into Afghanistan to demonstrate its military strength after the attacks of 9-11. This war did not impact the terrorists who plotted and carried out the 9-11 attacks – but only the Afghan people who had nothing to do with it. U.S. forces have imposed enormous additional suffering on the Afghan people through bombing, destruction of roads, bridges, whole villages and the imprisonment and torture of thousands in at least 19 prisons the U.S. operates around the country.
The result of all this is that the U.S.-backed Karzai government is facing the possibility of collapse. The infusion of additional U.S. troops may well briefly delay this development – but only at the cost of the lives of thousands more Afghan people and U.S. troops.
All U.S. forces should be withdrawn from Afghanistan now!