Jul 19, 2021
Translated from Lutte Ouvrière (Workers’ Struggle), the newspaper of the revolutionary workers’ group active in France.
U.S. and NATO troops evacuated Bagram air base 30 miles from Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on July 2—a step toward the final withdrawal scheduled for September. Twenty years after the start of the war launched by the U.S., the country is in catastrophic condition.
American leaders said they wanted to bring peace and freedom to the Afghans in this war begun after the attacks of September 2001. They targeted the Taliban, which they accused of protecting Osama bin Laden. But the war certainly didn’t bring peace and freedom. For the Afghan working class, the situation only worsened over the years. Armed gangs mushroomed amidst what became a quagmire for the U.S. military.
Today, terrorist attacks follow one after the other, whether committed by the Taliban, al-Qaeda, ISIS militias, or one of the many armed gangs which try to establish their rule amid the chaos. On May 8, bombings outside a girls’ school in Kabul left at least 50 dead and around 100 injured, many of them female students. A bomb exploded in a bus in the Badghis region in northwestern Afghanistan in early June, killing 11 people including three children.
During the same week, four other passenger minibuses were attacked in the Shiite neighborhoods of Kabul, killing a dozen people in total. These are just a few examples.
Afghans who have family abroad or the narrowest opportunity to get out seek exile. The others are trapped in this daily violence compounded by poverty and the Covid epidemic. Many Afghans die in their homes or in the streets—turned away by public hospitals which lack emergency services and supplies of oxygen. The U.N. estimates that almost half of the country’s 38 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.
The Taliban are winning out against the Afghan army day by day. Now they are said to control two-thirds of the territory and are maneuvering to surround Kabul. The American leaders want to prevent the spread of Afghanistan’s instability to the entire region and would be content with the Taliban’s return to power. This is revealed by their discussions with those who were their enemies after first having been their friends in the 1990s.
Today as 20 years ago, the imperialist leaders do not worry about the toll the various armed bands take on the population, nor the poverty into which the people are sinking, nor the probable establishment of a new medieval dictatorship.