Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/833/19658

From The Socialist newspaper, 12 November 2014

Afghanistan war: A legacy of death and destruction

Niall Mulholland

British combat troops were finally pulled out of Camp Bastion on 27 October, 13 years after the start of the US-led disastrous invasion and occupation of Afghanistan.

The October 2001 western powers' invasion took place weeks after the attacks on the Twin Towers and Pentagon. The subsequent US-led assault on Afghanistan was justified on the pretext of destroying al-Qa'ida's support base, despite the fact that most of the 9/11 attackers came from Saudi Arabia, a close US ally.

The Socialist opposed the invasion and warned it would bring massive loss of life and devastation to Afghanistan and would spawn more terrorism, including in the west. This was borne out by events.

From 2001 to 2013 the invasion and occupation cost between 18-20,000 civilian Afghan lives. Over 400 British soldiers were killed. Combat trauma amongst 150,000 British personnel who served in Afghanistan saw more commit suicide than die on the battle field in 2012. Since 2001, active al-Qa'ida type groups have spread from Central Asia to Pakistan, the Middle East and parts of Africa.

Despite the overwhelmingly pro-war media coverage, a poll in Britain taken in October found 68% think the war was "not worthwhile" and 42% felt Britain was "less safe" as a result.

While 19 billion was wasted on the Afghan war, the Con-Dem government carried out massive austerity cuts at home. And despite the US pouring in $104 billion over the last decade with promises of aid and development, Afghanistan remains one of the poorest countries in the world.

Half of the country's children are acutely malnourished. The few faltering steps towards improving women's rights, including schooling for females, are under attack and being rolled back. In 2011, development agencies declared Afghanistan the most dangerous country in the world for women.

The only real 'success' story is the opium poppy crop, which last year reached a record high, worth $3 billion!

Imperialist aims

The truth is that the lives of Afghans and soldiers are just so much 'collateral damage' to the western powers. The main motivations behind imperialism's bloody actions in Afghanistan were securing a military foothold and influence in the strategic and energy-rich region.

With overwhelming firepower, the US-led 'coalition' quickly removed the reactionary Taliban regime in 2001 (whose origins were to be found in the west's arming and financing of the mujahedeen fighters against Soviet Union occupation in the 1980s). But they failed to suppress general Afghan opposition to foreign occupation or the Taliban's subsequent armed revolt.

The Hamid Karzi regime - reviled by the majority of Afghans as corrupt, brutal and nothing more than a western puppet - was isolated in heavily militarised Kabul.

Realising that it was impossible to subdue the population and that Taliban armed attacks would only escalate as long as occupation continued, the western powers announced troop withdrawals and engineered new elections.

But the heavily rigged elections threatened a bloody conflict along ethnic lines after Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzi, a former World Bank economist, and Abdullah Abdullah, a former foreign minister in Karzai's discredited regime, both claimed victory.

US Secretary of State John Kerry recently forced the two candidates to accept a 'national unity' government or face the cutting off of aid.

Like British imperialism's three previous wars in Afghanistan in the 19th and early 20th century, this latest war also ended in disaster and ignominy for the US and Britain, exposing the limits of their power. But the fighting is not over.

Helmand and Nimroz provinces, which British forces had special responsibility for, are amongst the most violent parts of the country, with over 200 Afghan soldiers and 500 policemen killed this year alone.

Kerry insisted President Ghani sign a pact to allow 12,000 Nato troops, including British 'special forces', to stay in the country to train the Afghan army. Air strikes, drone attacks and special forces operations to 'defend' the pro-western regime will continue.

The formal end of this catastrophic war underscores the fact that only the Afghan masses themselves, with the active solidarity of working people everywhere, can transform their appalling conditions and realise genuine peace, democracy and prosperity.

The formation of strong inde-pendent organisations, with pro-worker and poor polices, can contest corrupt warlords and the reactionary Taliban. But they can also expel imperialism, creating a socialist society, as part of a socialist federation of the region.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 12 November 2014:


Socialist Party news and analysis

We can win 10 an hour

Socialism '14: infused with contagious confidence

'A magical fairyland' of corporate tax avoiders

What recovery? Thousands more jobs axed

Them & Us


International socialist news and analysis

Afghanistan war: A legacy of death and destruction

Mid-term elections do not mean shift to right in US


Socialist history

25 years after the Berlin Wall fell


Socialist Party youth and students

Build the education fightback

Fight for our future!


Socialist Party workplace news

St Mungo's strikers celebrate victory

Care UK workers to ballot on 2% pay deal

Sheffield recycling: 'We're out until the boss is out'

Crane drivers tell HTC: It's time to pay up!

Fight JCB's 150 job cuts

London RMT: Vote John Reid


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Leading Scottish trade unionists back TUSC

Leicester party building school


Reviews and readers' comments

Exhibition review: Disobedient Objects

Theatre Review: United We Stand

Little charity from high paid care bosses

Labour - the singer or the song?

Flawed maths of the bedroom tax


Obituary

Heulwen Davies 1960-2014


 

Home   |   The Socialist 12 November 2014   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Afghanistan:

triangleAssange arrest: US and allied governments seeking revenge for exposing dirty wars

triangleThem & us

War:

triangle1920s Britain: A "country nearer Bolshevism than at any time since"

triangleA new world order - global reconstruction after World War Two

triangleThe Spanish Flu of 1918 and how it "fanned the flames of revolt"

triangleThe Tyneside apprentices' strike during WW2

US:

triangleChinese state's imposition of draconian law reignites Hong Kong protests

triangleGoing viral - Socialist comments and letters

triangleTrump, coronavirus, capitalism, and the presidential race

Occupation:

triangleNottingham uni occupation ends

triangleStudent occupation in support of striking workers

Taliban:

triangleBombing Syria won't stop Isis

Imperialism:

triangleYemen's desperate civil war fuelled by imperialism and regional powers

Britain:

triangleBristol North Socialist Party: Crisis, capitalism and class division - a discussion on perspectives for Britain

International

International

27/5/20

Hong Kong

Chinese state's imposition of draconian law reignites Hong Kong protests

27/5/20

Lebanon

Economic collapse leads to renewed protests across Lebanon

20/5/20

US

Trump, coronavirus, capitalism, and the presidential race

6/5/20

India

India: Fighting the curse of capitalism and coronavirus

6/5/20

Trump

Trump puts profit before safety (again)

6/5/20

US

US: Trump's public health cuts have condemned thousands worldwide

29/4/20

May Day

A CWI May Day 2020 statement

29/4/20

Ireland

Irish police use Covid-19 emergency powers to disperse Dublin shop workers' protest

22/4/20

USA

US private healthcare system in meltdown

14/4/20

Coronavirus

Rapacious capitalism and the spread of coronavirus

8/4/20

CWI

Coronavirus, capitalism and fighting for socialism worldwide

8/4/20

Amazon

Amazon workers threaten revolution!

18/3/20

France

French local elections: CWI candidate elected

18/3/20

Coronavirus

United States: private healthcare exposed as Trump throws money at markets

18/3/20

Coronavirus

'Health not profit' strike wave sweeps Italy

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999