The last United States and its ‘partners” troops have now left Afghanistan after almost 20 years of futile war with the Taliban.
The chaotic tragedy over the last week of desperate Afghans wanting to leave Afghanistan via Kabul Airport for a better and safer life, is now also over.
In the final few days of the exodus, the Taliban apparently informed United States forces of a likely threat from ISIS Khorasan forces at Kabul Airport. A suicide bomber duly arrived at one of the U.S. entry points to the airport and blew himself up, killing himself, an indeterminate number of Afghans (in the 100s), and 12 U.S. force personnel.
It would appear from Afghan accounts on the ground that the U.S. soldiers in the surrounding watchtowers then panicked and opened fire with automatic fire on the Afghans below- killing at least another 100 people.
Subsequent to the ISIS attack, the U.S. president stated in the usual petulant child-like way of American presidents that, ‘vengeance shall be ours’; rather than a thoughtful and lawful approach to such acts of premeditated murder which act to limit the risks of further attacks.
“To those who carried out this attack … we will not forgive, we will not forget, we will hunt you down and make you pay.”-Joe Biden
Miraculously U.S. forces already knew the location of the planners of the ISIS attack and duly dispatched a drone to kill the planners and further attackers. (why the attackers weren’t arrested or killed before the attack is not explained)
The U.S. subsequently reported (as per usual) that it was ‘highly likely’ that the ISIS K planners and bombers had been killed in the drone attack. Given the history of U.S. drone attacks it is also ‘highly likely’ that those killed were guilty of owning several goats that were coveted by a neighbour who had then reported them as ISIS K combatants to the authorities.
One notes that the images of the vehicle supposedly hit by the subsequent U.S. drone attack show a somewhat burnt out vehicle-not a vehicle with a bomb on board, as claimed by the Americans , which would have disintegrated with the explosion of the ISIS bomb, after the drone missile impact.
Unsurprisingly the ruling Taliban have objected to the U.S. launching drone attacks on sovereign Afghan territory, but any objections by the Taliban will be ignored as the U.S. continues to bomb and drone Afghans that it believes are ‘highly likely’ to be terrorists. Only once the Taliban acquire anti-air missiles ( as the Mujahedeen before them did ) will the scourge of drone warfare be over.
With the elimination of U.S. forces on the ground in Afghanistan, the Taliban are now free to follow up in every corner of the country, the threat that their mortal enemy ISIS, poses to Afghan security.
We know for certain that the United States did indeed facilitate the rise of extremist Wahhabist movements including Al Qaeda across the Middle East-in collaboration with U.K. ‘special’ forces, the Saudis, Turkey and some of the Gulf ministates; initially to confront the Russian forces in Afghanistan in the 1990s, and later to attack any secular government that the American and their ‘partners’ saw as a threat to their control of local resources.
We also know that the Iranians, Syrians and Russians have long complained about the U.S. facilitating the rise and ongoing support of ISIS groups in the Middle East, including the transport by helicopter of ISIS remnants from Syria into Afghanistan, and training and support by the Israelis of ISIS Syrian teams. How true are those statements from the Russians Syrians and Iranians? However we do know that the American’s definition of what they have traditionally called ‘moderate’ jihadists in the Middle East, is not one shared by many.
Despite the calls for an end to the drone murders, it is ‘highly likely’ that the Americans will continue to provide any excuse to continue to “precision’ bomb, drone and assassinate anyone they believe is not in their best economic interests and will support a new Mujahideen to confront the now more moderate ruling Afghan Taliban.
After several years of extreme violence and turmoil across Afghanistan, the Taliban came to power in the late 1990s,
As Consortium News notes: The triumphant Taliban imposed harsh Islamic law on Afghanistan. Their rule was especially cruel to women who had made gains toward equal rights under the communists, but were forced by the Taliban to live under highly restrictive rules, to cover themselves when in public, and to forgo schooling.
The Taliban also granted refuge to Saudi exile Osama bin Laden, who had fought with the Afghan mujahedeen against the Soviets in the 1980s. Bin Laden then used Afghanistan as the base of operations for his terrorist organization, al-Qaeda, setting the stage for the next Afghan War in 2001.
After the 9/11 attacks in New York by Al Qaeda, the Taliban agreed to hand over Osama bin Laden to the United States. However their offer was refused, and instead President Bush launched a war to remove the Taliban from power beginning with a brutal bombing campaign in October 2001
If the purpose of Bush’s Afghan war was not to trap Osama bin Laden – what was the purpose?
The United States had been negotiating with the Taliban for an oil pipeline to traverse Afghanistan from Central Asian oil fields, and appeared to be on relatively good terms with them.
It was only much later that the hype about a humanitarian intervention for women’s rights etc came to the fore in Western media. However this supposed human rights agenda by the United States and the United Kingdom is contradicted by their wholehearted support for the brutal Mujahideen the Saudi regime, and their unconditional support for the Israeli genocidal actions against Palestinians (amongst many other brutal regimes supported and armed by Western governments)
As a Western person I oppose discrimination against any person of any gender or race- however I also oppose the barbaric use of violence to impose one’s will on others we do not agree with- something my country New Zealand has been complicit in along with other Western white countries.
Setting up an indigenous Afghan army funded and trained and managed by foreigners to oppose local people who they may in fact know by tribe or family, and who are trying to defend their country from invasion, was always a recipe for failure. Such troops’ only motivation could be their paycheck, not patriotism for their country: so when the occupation force goes in the dead of night, the money goes with them and the local funded military disintegrate- they have nothing to fight for.
Similarly a ‘democracy’ funded and approved and beholden to an occupying power is not a democracy -it is a mockery of ‘democracy’.- and an extraordinarily corrupt one at that– why else would you pretend to lead your country whilst under an occupying power?
As Marshall Auerback and Patrick Lawrence note in ‘The Scrum’: Ashraf Ghani, (the last of the U.S. appointed Afghan ‘Presidents’) was among the more preposterous creations of the Obama administration, a man who personified our American presumption that we can go around the world making all others in our image without reference to histories, cultures, or political traditions.
We know the colonial occupation forces killed many thousands of civilians (through bombing campaigns, drone murders, the brutal occupation and destruction of villages and people’s homes and the use of torture at Bagram airbase and other locations in Afghanistan- civilian losses that the occupying forces continue to largely deny.
The New Zealand presence in Afghanistan is one more shameful example of our complicity in the United States’ war crimes..
While there will be many in Kabul and other major Afghan cities who have come to enjoy Western values, comforts and the easy money that came with the occupiers, there will be many many more Afghans who are thankful that the brutality and systematic racism of the Western occupying powers is finally at an end.
The lessons other vulnerable countries have learnt from Western occupying powers’ brutal occupation of Afghanistan will not be soon forgotten..
Nor will the boys coming home from that 20 year war be immune to its effects on the psyche..
“One man cannot hold another man down in the ditch without remaining down in the ditch with him.” – Booker T. Washington
That is not to say Afghanistan is going to become some liberal, rights respecting country any time soon: traditional rigid views about women’s rights and other ethnicities and belief systems -particularly in rural areas, are gong to prevail for some time to come. And Sharia law is not exactly a very forgiving dogma; but there are signs that the new Taliban leadership recognise that they will have to adapt to the modern world if they are to be accepted by the wider international community, especially investment from Chinese and other neighbouring countries. Certainly, as of 17th August 2021, the Taliban command have so far largely behaved with honour and discipline for the defeated.
It should also be noted that the Taliban are not ‘terrorists’ and in no way resemble ISIS or the earlier Mujahideen . While they may have sheltered Al Qaeda in the past, they have no record and no stated intent of terrorist actions outside (or within) Afghanistan.
It is time now for the new Afghan government to demand reparations from all those Western occupation governments for the deaths, torture, trauma and misery; and land and property losses of the last 20 years.
Perhaps Westerners could also remember, for the future, that the way for outsiders to encourage change in any other society, is to demonstrate your positive values: your generosity, your honesty, your capacity to forgive and your willingness to listen…