The Spark

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

Out of Afghanistan!

Mar 5, 2012

In Afghanistan, a week of mass demonstrations throughout the country began on February 21. Angry protesters, armed with rocks, pistols and wooden sticks, took to the streets and battled U.S. and Afghan security forces.

The demonstrations had been set off, according to the U.S. news media, by reports of U.S. troops burning Korans. If anything, that was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. In the 11-year U.S. war and occupation, outrage has been heaped on outrage. U.S. special operations forces break into Afghan homes regularly in night raids; U.S. “kill teams” hunt and assassinate Afghan civilians; U.S. air strikes repeatedly take lives and wreak destruction. On February 8, two weeks before the first mass demonstrations, U.S. bombs slaughtered eight shepherd boys, aged six to 18, in Kapsia Province in northern Afghanistan.

By the end of the week of protest, U.S. and Afghan security forces had killed 30 protesters and wounded hundreds more. But the U.S. also suffered casualties, often committed by Afghan security forces who were supposedly working with the U.S. military. After U.S. troops killed two protesters during demonstrations outside a small American base near the Pakistan border, an Afghan soldier shot and killed two American soldiers and then escaped into the crowd of demonstrators.

No base or office is secure for U.S. troops. On February 25, a U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel and a major in Kabul were shot in the back of the head while working in the command and control center of the Afghan Interior Ministry, an area of restricted access for only an elite group of Afghan officers using a special code. Immediately afterward, the U.S. and NATO responded by pulling all advisers out of Afghan ministries. When the Afghan Defense Minister General Abdul Rahim Wardak called Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to offer his condolences, “Secretary Panetta ... urged the Afghan government to take decisive action to protect coalition forces and curtail the violence,” said Panetta’s press secretary.

The futility of such a plea was illustrated on March 1. At a joint Afghan-NATO base in Kandahar province, an Afghan platoon leader and a literacy instructor at the base killed a tower guard and attacked a barracks with gunfire and a rocket, killing two U.S. soldiers and wounding four others.

For the past 11 years, the U.S. military has spent tens of billions of dollars arming and training Afghan security forces. But, as the New York Times put it, these attacks are “a clear sign of concern that the fury had reached deeply into even the Afghan security forces and ministries working most closely with the coalition.” Even before the latest attacks, 70 U.S. and other coalition members had been killed and 110 wounded since 2007, in 45 separate episodes involving Afghan security forces or private Afghan security contractors. Seventy-five% of the attacks have occurred in the past two years.

Only last summer, President Obama in a national address cynically declared that the U.S. occupation had accomplished its main goals and “the tide of war is receding.” He then used that supposed “success” to justify keeping U.S. troops in Afghanistan until at least 2014.

The events of the past weeks show that almost all of Afghan society is rising up against the U.S. occupation.

U.S. Troops Out Immediately!