Oct 3, 2011
Ten years ago, on October 7, 2001, U.S. warplanes began to bomb Afghanistan.
The U.S. was accusing the Afghan government of harboring al-Qaeda, the terrorist group responsible for the 9/11 attacks.
The Afghan government collapsed within days. The Taliban, the Islamic fundamentalist organization that ran the government, fled Kabul, the capital. In the next few months, the U.S. set up a new Afghan government under the protection of the U.S. military.
But large parts of Afghanistan remained under the control of different warlords as before – warlords who, on and off, have allied themselves with or fought against the U.S. Thus the U.S. got into a long war of occupation. Today, ten years and two presidents later, U.S. officials say that they are looking to negotiate a settlement with the insurgents and get out of Afghanistan.
But who exactly are the insurgents? Attacks against U.S. troops have come from many different sources. For example, the fighters who staged a daring, day-long attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul last month turned out to be soldiers of Jalaluddin Haqqani, a former U.S. ally. Haqqani, an Islamic fundamentalist warlord based in eastern Afghanistan, commands thousands of fighters. He also runs a criminal network involved in smuggling, kidnappings and collecting “protection money” from contractors.
Haqqani’s relationship with the U.S. goes back three decades. Starting in 1979 under President Carter, the U.S. actively supported Haqqani and other Afghan warlords who were fighting Soviet occupation forces. Many of these warlords were Islamic fundamentalists, who committed such outrageous crimes as killing teachers and burning down schools for educating girls. The Islamic fundamentalist regime of oil-rich Saudi Arabia, a close U.S. ally, helped finance the warlords. A young member of the Saudi elite, Osama bin Laden, went to Afghanistan and served as a financial courier between the Saudi regime and the U.S. CIA on the one hand, and the various warlords on the other.
Bin Laden later turned against his own master, the U.S. But he is not the only one who has done that. Today in Afghanistan, the U.S. finds itself fighting some of the same warlords that the U.S. has propped up in the past, including Haqqani.
This is not a mistake or some ironic twist of history. It is the consequence of a U.S. foreign policy that is bound by one principle only – extending the control of U.S. big business over more parts of the world, for ever-greater profits. Under such a narrow-minded, reckless policy, today’s allies can easily become enemies tomorrow.
Caught in the middle are peoples around the world, with those in Afghanistan being particularly victimized. For more than 30 years, Afghan people have been bombed and brutalized by two of the world’s biggest military powers, and robbed, raped and harassed by gangs that are supported by one of those powers, the U.S.
A single day of this war against the Afghan population has been a day too many – and it has been more than 30 years now, 365 days a year.
End the U.S. war on Afghanistan. End all U.S. wars. NOW!