Afghanistan

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ajjohnstone
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Aug 16 2021 12:16
Afghanistan

In lieu of a press release from the SPGB, its blog has posted the following

https://socialismoryourmoneyback.blogspot.com/2021/08/america-in-denial....

A few days ago Ben Wallace, the UK Defence Minister, said Afghanistan was “heading towards civil war” as he deployed 600 soldiers to assist in the evacuation of foreign nationals and officials. Days later and the Afghan National Army has melted away into the civilian population and the whole Afghan government including its president has disappeared into neighbouring countries leaving the Taliban to take effective control of Afghanistan.
“This is manifestly not Saigon,” the US secretary of state Antony Blinken told the media. “We went into Afghanistan 20 years ago with one mission in mind, and that was to deal with the people who attacked us on 9/11, and that mission has been successful.”

Back in July when Biden announced US withdrawal he was directly asked about a comparison with American retreat from Vietnam he answered, "None whatsoever. Zero. What you had is you had entire brigades breaking through the gates of our embassy — six, if I’m not mistaken. The Taliban is not the South — the North Vietnamese army. They’re not — they’re not remotely comparable in terms of capability. There’s going to be no circumstance where you see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy in the — of the United States from Afghanistan. It is not at all comparable."

How wrong the Commander-in-Chief of the United States of America was.

This is exactly a repeat of the fall of Saigon, even if the images might differ.

America, the greatest superpower in the World, has suffered a humiliating defeat and the Afghani puppet government, it and its allies spent over $1trillion propping up, no longer exists.

What happens next is all a matter of speculation.

We cannot be at all confident that the Taliban will not re-impose its fundamentalist Islamic terror upon the populace once again.

We can be sure, though, that some of the other Great Powers will fill the vacuum of America's absence to offer the Taliban investment and aid in return for access to its vast mineral ore wealth and vital trade routes.

For ourselves in the World Socialist Movement, we will mourn all the lost lives, the pain of all the crippled, and offer our sympathy and solidarity to all those presently suffering the squalor and disease within Afghanistan and the misery of the millions who uprooted their families and fled to often unwelcoming foreign lands for sanctuary.

America's present political, military and diplomatic "embarrassment" is of no concern to us. They will go on and repeat their invasions and occupations elsewhere.

Capitalism has no remorse. History will be re-written.

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R Totale
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Aug 16 2021 17:06

Haven't had time to read it yet, but there's this:
https://crimethinc.com/2021/08/16/afghanistan-the-taliban-victory-in-a-g...
And the Asranarshism lot are still asking for help getting their people out of the country:
https://asranarshism.com/donation/
They say "comrades outside Afghanistan can also send immigration invitations to our comrades, provided the embassies in question continue to operate before the Taliban can fully establish their government and establish their own security and intelligence agencies", although I'm not sure exactly how that works?

ajjohnstone
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Aug 16 2021 19:45

In the short term, the capitulation of the Afghan government and the miscalculations of the American generals on the abilities of the National Army is to be welcomed.

What a blood-bath it would have been in the street fighting inside Kabul with no doubt air attacks from the US bases outside of the country missing their targets.

At least a prolonged and protracted civil war has been avoided.

We can only speculate that this Taliban will not embrace being a pariah state and although strict Islamic laws will be enforced and purging of officials and collaborators with the old regime will happen, it may be more moderate than before as to be inviting for the Chinese and others to do business with them.

We can expect an increase in refugees. How many? Anybody's guess.

For America and NATO, where to next?

Africom with the French allies in the Sahel? Already Somalia has been bombed by Biden.

adri
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Aug 17 2021 16:10

Maybe relevant to the increased attention toward Afghan women and veiling is this 2002 piece by Abu-Lughod. I definitely agree that Westerners shouldn't be so arrogant to assume that veiling is nothing more than women's oppression, or something they wouldn't do under other circumstances. A larger discussion about cultural relativism or the compatibility of different/non-Western cultures with a communist society would also be interesting.

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Reddebrek
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Aug 17 2021 19:23
ajjohnstone wrote:
In the short term, the capitulation of the Afghan government and the miscalculations of the American generals on the abilities of the National Army is to be welcomed.

What a blood-bath it would have been in the street fighting inside Kabul with no doubt air attacks from the US bases outside of the country missing their targets.
At least a prolonged and protracted civil war has been avoided.

This is incorrect, the idea that the coalition was caught off guard and the ANA melted away and gave up is a US government talking point which Biden has gone all in on now that he's getting criticism for this. This year alone the Afghan army has suffered more casualties than the US army has in its 20 year occupation, and they appear to have been inflicting comparable casualties on the Taliban and average of 30-50 per day for both sides. The events of the past week are not the result of some miscalculations nor do they represent a bloody but thankfully short conflict, it is the result of a protracted and serious civil war that has ripped apart the nation for years, and a logistical collapse. The reason for such a quick capture of so much territory is because the ANA has been fighting so hard its units have run out of supplies and ammunition less than a month after it had taken territory from the Taliban and halted its earlier advances in much of the country.

And this is not even the end of the fighting, opposition groups are already establishing themselves in regional and local levels. This is not remotely to be welcomed, what has happened is that a faction has gained strength and opportunities to spread violence to a wider population, while its opposition is weaker and on the defensive, it may stay on the defensive or it might regroup and change the balance of power again, either way the war and its consequences continue.

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Reddebrek
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Aug 17 2021 19:46
R Totale wrote:
Haven't had time to read it yet, but there's this:
https://crimethinc.com/2021/08/16/afghanistan-the-taliban-victory-in-a-g...
And the Asranarshism lot are still asking for help getting their people out of the country:
https://asranarshism.com/donation/
They say "comrades outside Afghanistan can also send immigration invitations to our comrades, provided the embassies in question continue to operate before the Taliban can fully establish their government and establish their own security and intelligence agencies", although I'm not sure exactly how that works?

Depends on the nation, some countries have a sort appeals process for advocates of specific refugees, some like Canada have a sort of refugee/migrant sponsorship process where a household can register to take certain people in. I'd recommend contacting the group before trying to do this if anyones able and willing.

The Workers Solidarity Federation of Pakistan is also in contact with some Afghan anarchists and activists in distress and is trying to provide assistance.

http://cnt-ait.info/2020/08/17/afghan-refugees-solidarity/

baboon
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Aug 18 2021 11:08

The irony of it: a fully-fledged Islamic Caliphate popping up like a jack-in-the-box across a major strategic area of the globe. But this has been coming since Trump signed his deal last year. The Taliban is a narrow-based, hard-line Sunni tribal community that is, first and foremost, an expression of imperialism and, as such, has been preparing for its victory parade since it effectively won the war with
the "peace" agreement between the United States and the Taliban in February last year. The radical ideology of the new rulers of Afghanistan will be liberally interpreted by the various jihadi factions that have supported it in the war. According to some reports there are around ten thousand fighters in Afghanistan from other jihadi groups: al-Qaida, Isis, Uzbek, Tajik, Chechen and Uighurs. On Channel 4 News last night it was reported, with some conviction, that these groups had, in the last year, been "invited" by Taliban officials to join their fight with the promise of their pick of child-brides and for some fighters, commanders presumably, the promise of export licences for some of these slaves.

This has been a completely irrational war and its result is indicative of the growing decomposition of the capitalist system and the growing spread of its corresponding barbarity. It further demonstrates the weakening of American imperialism and the centrifugal tendencies pulling NATO apart. While this may represent an opportunity for China, Russia, Iran and Pakistan it also represents some very serious dangers for them.

ajjohnstone
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Aug 19 2021 00:07

Reddibreak, I am happy to accept your analyses.

I'm just a Googler, not a person who has studied the situation for years, often from on the ground. I'm aware of my limitations in understanding complicated complex world events.

On my cyber travels, I have read that what was formerly the Northern Alliance did not disappear and it was those militias who raised the most resistance in the regions where they dominated to the Taliban advance, not the regular National Army.

It is not an easy conflict to understand. Through corruption and ghost numbers, the National Army and police already suffered missing pay and lack of supplies.

I think those who were in the Afghan army for material reasons of personal survival and subsistence will return to the tribal and religious allegiances they always held. The disbanded Ba'athist Iraqi army formed the recruits to various independent militias.

Now the Guardian is reporting that we should regard the Taliban as the moderates, reporting,
“…the Taliban in power may find themselves fighting their own insurgents, composed not of those loyal to the former US-backed government but those who see their new rulers as sellouts…”

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/aug/18/bidens-over-the-horizon-...

It is on-going and how it develops is up to speculation. Once again, I'm just guessing from extremely limited knowledge and some lessons in the past.

As always what I think and or that matter what you hold to be true is utterly irrelevant because of our insignificance to influence conditions and there are no parallels or comparisons to be made with our own politics in our own lands, other than very basic generalities on which you and I probably agree upon.

ajjohnstone
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Aug 19 2021 00:17

As no link so far been posted , from the ICC

https://en.internationalism.org/forum/17055/afghanistan#comment-form

ajjohnstone
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Aug 19 2021 00:24

Something else to read from 2015 and how relevant it is today is anybody's guess but just an illustration of other ideologies at work, even if almost invisible. But perhaps there are seeds that are not based on Islamist Fundamentalism

https://journals.openedition.org/samaj/3895

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R Totale
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Aug 19 2021 07:37

I think the current situation is going to make life very difficult for those other ideologies. From this interview (which was from early July 2021):

"So, let’s start with the analysis of the comrades in Afghanistan? That is that the government in Afghanistan is probably gonna keep Kabul. Even though it might lose everything else, they’re gonna focus their forces in Kabul and at least save that place. But, then you were mentioning god and the peace negotiations with Taliban… From the one of the reports have got from our comrades in Afghanistan that before the negotiations, they (the Kabul government) released 5,000 Taliban members and during the negotiations they released another, here and there, they release another 7,000 the Taliban members. This boosted the Taliban’s the morale and their forces. So at this moment it seems that the peace negotiations have failed. Of course it did, because they got about 11,000 of their members back. Why would they negotiate with the government? Another thing that I would like to mention is we lost communication week are comrades in Mazār-i-Sharīf, in Balkh province for about a week. Just few hours ago we established communication again and the reason that we lost communication was that the Taliban cut their fiber optic communication. They manage to push them back from Mazār-i-Sharīf, apparently they manage to fix the fiber optic. so we managed to reestablish communication. Yeah, they there were saying that the fighting was intense near Mazār-i-Sharīf, so one of the tactics the Taliban user would be to destroy the power lines, they destroyed the communication lines so that the population cannot ask for help. Without the power lines as many of their infrastructure will not work which would be in benefit of the Taliban. So, in regards to U.S. drawing out is that U.S. forces in Afghanistan they’re, even though they supposedly were a counter-force to Taliban and by them being there and their actions in Afghanistan, they stopped the popular independent movement in Afghanistan. There is little-to-no independent movement to the Taliban. Everything that exists at the moment, is either from the government, or is from the religious or another political party that has their own goal and they want to score our own and political goals regional goals. They’re not something that we can trust and corporate with because our goals and values are not the same...
So, before the Taliban started this new conquest over the last few weeks, we were trying to start a project, a couple of projects in Afghanistan. We were already talking about it. We were basically finalizing some of the projects in Afghanistan. One of them was a starting an anarchist magazine, they publish monthly or biweekly and we publish it online. This would basically increase our anarchist presence in the region and we doubt that we have more leverage to do more. But this Taliban’s movement basically cut us off guard, we have to scrap those projects that we had. Our forces are so small that they can’t do it alone, and like I said there are no other movement that we can collaborate with. We were trying multiple organizations that were nominally closer to us, but the problem is even if we are like “okay, let’s work together, even though we don’t like each other,” they do not like anarchists at all. They are completely anti-anarchist and we cannot establish a collaboration or alliance in any way. Right now, it seems that the Taliban may have already hold of 70-80% of the Afghanistan region. Yeah, so the Taliban is already there. They may in fact hold maybe Mazār-i-Sharīf , maybe Kabul, some other cities in the region like a fortress, as you mention. But our priority is to save and secure our comrades living in Afghanistan. All other projects that we had in the region right now are on hold until further developments. We’ll see what we can do. We are talking with our Kurdish friends and are the are trying to see if there have any experiences from Rojava that they can share with us since they were able to successfully fight ISIS am in northern Syria, they might have some experiences that they can share with us . But this is really hard, because the anarchist presence in Afghanistan is a smaller and more spread than is possible to create any strong and independent movement without anybody’s help.

So, right now we are just trying to help our comrades in Afghanistan. At the moment, we are working on setting up a fund for our comrade to send financial aid to our comrades so they can have food security. We want to get them air power generator, just in case the Taliban decided that they’re gonna bomb another power line, they gonna cut down on a power line. And we’re trying to see if he can get them guns, AK-47’s. The last time that we talked to our Afghanistan comrades about it was $500 for an AK-47. We are trying to get some for them. Raiding and procuring them in other ways was suggested but after analyzing the situation, we couldn’t safely to do that without risking our comrades. So we decided to first procure food and then get power secured. Then we get them guns and after the there was a suggestion for us to get the satellite internet or satellite phone for all easier and more durable communication. So if we get any money and if you’re figuring any funding we’ll be spending solely for those projects, for now.

Some of our comrades are thinking of migrating but their not positive about the current trends, current situation in Afghanistan. As we mentioned before the U.S. has been there for 20 years. People there born and became adults all while the US occupation. But one of the [U.S.] objective was not allow for the people to develop independent collectives and communities to defend themselves because that would undermine their importance and their presence in the in the region. So, that’s that."

baboon
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Aug 19 2021 19:20

AJ, a small point but the position you posted on no. 9 was my position on its website as a sympathiser of the ICC and hence not its.

It's probably theologically incorrect to the call the present regime in Afghanistan a Caliphate. But it will undoubtedly be a focal point that attracts to it any number of jihadis. Wider afield it will give a boost to Islamic fundamentalism: across the ex-Russian republics, all the way across the Middle East and particularly in Africa where al-Qaida has made significant advances across the continent recently eliminating or absorbing local groups like Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, etc.

The reports above about "foreign" jihadis promised child slaves by the Taliban have been confirmed by earlier reports from the provinces, in areas where the Taliban have been in total control for years now, of "out-of-town" elements going door-to-door and taking away girls over 12.

Dyjbas
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Aug 24 2021 11:58

A comment from the CWO-ICT - Afghanistan: The USA and its Allies Retreat

ajjohnstone
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Aug 29 2021 23:44

An echo from the past

https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1857/afghanistan/index.htm

Spikymike
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Sep 28 2021 15:54

This short text on 'The Return of the Taliban' from a different left communist group ads some points of interest without significantly altering the perception of a poorly managed defeat for the USA and opportunities for China in the inter-imperialist conflict across this region:
https://international-communist-party.org/English/TheCPart/TCP_036.htm#1
This edition also has some other international catch ups.
For information only (and to keep this thread alive) not an endorsement of this particular group.