Jul 14, 2008
Almost every day now, there are terrorist bombings in the streets of Kabul. One of the latest, in front of the Indian Embassy, caused real carnage, with 41 deaths and more than 140 wounded. The bloody confrontation between the Islamists, including the Taliban, and the government of Hamid Karzai, which is supported by foreign armies in the country, now take place in the very heart of the capital.
In 2001, the international military coalition led by the U.S. overthrew the hated Taliban government. But the Afghan people’s living conditions didn’t improve as a result. On the contrary, seven years later, a country already destroyed by decades of war has been even more ravaged. The population has never seen the billions of dollars promised for reconstruction. A large number of people have been pushed into a miserable exile or have been forced to flee combat zones, like in the Kandahar region this past June when the Afghan and coalition forces carried out a huge search operation. The poor try to survive in the slums of the big cities or have to cultivate poppies in the countryside in order to survive. The freedom promised to the Afghans, in particular to women covered head to toe by the burka, never happened, thanks to the continuing war and the choice of the government to base itself on traditional warlords who hold the valleys of this mountainous country.
The presence of some 70,000 foreign forces has done nothing to make the population safer. Suicide attacks, which affect the south and east of the country, have sown terror for two years now, reaching as far as the area around the government palace in Kabul. Large scale military operations no longer can hide the growing weight of the Taliban in a great part of the country, despite the boasts of military commanders to the contrary.
And aerial bombing causes hundreds of civilian deaths each month, although these, too, are systematically denied by the military authorities. The latest occurred on the July 5-6 weekend in the province of Nangarhar. A coalition spokesman announced the death of between “5 and 10 Taliban due to an air strike,” after the soldiers “were assured there were no civilians nearby.” But the protests of local authorities and the doctor who examined the victims showed that they were women and children getting together for a wedding! This time the bad press about these atrocities by foreign armies pushed the government to open an inquiry. And in June, coalition soldiers suffered their worst losses since 2001, with more deaths in Afghanistan than in Iraq.
Bush and other leaders of the imperialist countries are promising to send still more troops to Afghanistan. And Obama criticizes him for not doing it fast enough. But the increase in foreign military troops only adds to the bloody impasse and misery into which a century of imperialist interventions have plunged this region of the world.
U.S. and other troops out of Afghanistan!