Nov 3, 2008
The U.S. government says that it has started negotiating with some elements of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
This is being advertised as the beginning of peace negotiations in Afghanistan. Of course, they are more likely to be bribes to get some of the warlords who joined with the Taliban to support the U.S. against the rest of the Taliban. As one senior State Department official told the Wall Street Journal, “The question always comes down to price.” He said, “How much should we be willing to offer guys like this?”
These kinds of offers to former enemies are nothing new for U.S. strategy, and they have all worked to worsen the situation for civilians. During the recent surge in Iraq, the U.S. paid 100,000 Sunnis, many of whom had been former military officers under Saddam Hussein and former insurgents against the U.S., to patrol – that is – impose terror over parts of Iraq. Many of these gangs were used to round up and imprison people in ethnic enclaves. Once the U.S. was done with them, the Iraqi government subsequently marked many of them for assassination. It also issued arrest warrants for more than 1,000 of them – which has just fed into the continuing civil war and violence that shakes Iraq every day.
If the U.S. is trying to do the same kind of thing in Afghanistan, it is because, the war in Afghanistan has gone increasingly worse for the U.S. The Taliban has extended its control of the country, while they have become more effective in attacking U.S. forces occupying the country. More U.S. troops have been killed in the first ten months of 2008 than in any year since the U.S. invaded, seven years ago.
In response to this growing insurgency, the U.S. has escalated the war. It has boosted the number of U.S. troops from 20,000 to 31,000 in two years, and stepped up the bombing of Afghanistan. This escalation has only resulted in greater killing of ordinary people, as well as the destruction of their homes and villages. And this has led to greater anger and hostility against the U.S. occupation. Thus, the U.S. escalation has pushed more of the population to support the Taliban, despite the fact that it is so despotic.
The U.S. also admits that it has also extended the war over the border to the tribal areas in neighboring Pakistan. The U.S. has carried out commando raids and bombed villages. In fact, in October alone, the U.S. carried out 19 missile attacks inside Pakistan’s tribal region.
Of course, this too has only increased the opposition not only against the U.S., but to the already weak and extremely corrupt regime that runs Pakistan. In other words, the extension of the U.S. war in Afghanistan into Pakistan threatens to make an already explosive situation even more explosive – and this in Pakistan, a country of almost 170 million people.
In fact, the U.S. is being sucked into a real war without end, both in Iraq, Afghanistan, and perhaps even Pakistan – at an already enormous cost for all those involved. It is a war that working people in the U.S. have every reason to oppose.