When Obama jetted into Afghanistan at the start of May, the familiar ceremonious rolling out of the red carpet on hot tarmac with a full and passionate embrace for the Afghan warlord Karzai was conspicuous by its absence. In stark contrast to the usual pomposity and show of strength, Obama, the president of what is touted as being the most powerful country on the earth, crept into town in the small hours, scurrying around the dark corners of fortified Kabul like a thief in the night.
That Obama was forced to touch down in complete secrecy, and under the cover of darkness, will come as no surprise to those who have followed the progress of the Taliban’s spring offensive, particularly the spectacular coordinated attacks against US and puppet troops on 15 April, which culminated in an attack on the Afghan parliament itself. These attacks topped off what had already been a disastrous start to 2012 for the imperialist armies in Afghanistan.
Summarising the last four months of rising resistance to and disgust for the occupation, the Wall Street Journal noted:
“Quran burnings at a US military base in Afghanistan in February set off a wave of deadly protests and prompted an apology from Mr Obama. Weeks later, a 38-year-old US Army staff sergeant was accused of killing 17 Afghan civilians, most of them women and children. In April, photographs depicting US troops posing with the bodies of dead Afghans were publicly circulated, reminiscent of images released in January showing US troops urinating on Afghan corpses.
“Mr Obama alluded to the turmoil in his remarks to troops, saying ‘a lot of time it’s easier to get bad news on the news than good news’.” That’s certainly one way of looking at it! (‘Obama, Karzai sign strategic Afghan pact’ by Carol E Lee and Dion Nissenbaum, 2 May 2012)
In this context, it really is humiliating for the US to have to smuggle President Obama into the country in the dead of the night to sign this ‘strategic Afghan pact’ at 1.25am! But the danger to the occupation forces and the president himself was clear. The article continued:
“Hours after Mr Obama delivered his predawn speech and left Afghanistan, insurgents attacked a fortified compound that houses thousands of westerners, including US Department of Defence contractors and European Union police trainers, on the outskirts of Kabul.
“Insurgents used at least two car bombs to attack the front gate of Green Village before other attackers stormed the gate and got inside the parking lot of the compound, according to one resident….
“Well-armed contractors defended the facility as insurgents used rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns to try to attack, the resident said. Several westerners were injured in the assault, but security managed to contain the attackers, he said. An hour after the attack, only one insurgent remained contained on the compound. The Kabul police chief at the scene said that six people were killed, including one Afghan student and one guard at Green Village.
“Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told the Wall Street Journal that the attack was a direct response to the president’s visit. ‘This delivers a message to President Obama that he is not welcome in Afghanistan,’ said Mr Mujahid. ‘When he is in Afghanistan, we want him to hear the sound of explosions. Afghanistan does not want his imposed strategy.’”
And the president, it seems, is indeed ready to listen to the Taliban.
“Mr Obama said his administration has been in direct talks with the Taliban, the first public acknowledgment of the negotiations by the president.
“‘We have made it clear that they can be a part of this future if they break with al Qaeda, renounce violence and abide by Afghan laws,’ Mr Obama said.”
These words amount to nothing less than an admission that the forces of the resistance cannot be beaten militarily, and stand in stark contrast to the ridiculous declarations that were made 10 years ago by President Obama’s predecessor when he said, “And you all also may remember that early on, I said if you hide a terrorist, if you feed a terrorist, if you provide comfort to a terrorist, you’re just as guilty as the terrorist. The Taliban now knows what we mean. They’re gone. And, guess what? People in Afghanistan don’t miss them one bit.”
The Taliban and the Afghan people clearly understood George Bush Jr’s message and have worked day and night to flush out from their country the terrorists and their puppets!
Strategic Partnership Agreement 2012
The signing of this latest pact between the US and Afghanistan has been timed to bolster Obama’s position in the run-up to the presidential elections later this year, and the ‘big story’ behind the pact is that the US has designated Afghanistan a ‘major non-Nato ally’.
In short, Afghanistan now has the privilege of playing host to thousands more US soldiers after the supposed withdrawal in 2014, and the pact makes provisions for US operations to be conducted from Afghan bases until 2024. So, despite the retreat of 23,000 US soldiers, scheduled to be completed by the autumn, and including the reduction of 10,000 troops from last year – the US is aiming to continue to maintain 68,000 troops in the country, alongside a veritable army of private contractors, advisors and babysitters for the quisling Afghan troops and police.
The announcement of the pact drew derision as well as armed resistance from the Taliban, which declared that “all its strength will continue its armed jihad [holy war] against all the contents of this illegitimate document until the full withdrawal of all invading forces and their puppets from Afghanistan”.
Judging by the last year’s performance by the resistance, the full withdrawal of all US troops and bases from Afghanistan may be much closer than the president and his criminal clique would like to believe!
The US plan to maintain a presence in Afghanistan well into the next decade, and the offers made by Obama to the Taliban to come into government, may appear contradictory, but they are part of a pincer movement aimed at pacifying the Afghan resistance and establishing bases that could be used for other wars in the wider region. For alongside the Afghan conflict runs a deeper, wider and more worrying threat to world peace – the very real prospect of a third world war.
The US forces in Afghanistan have already been used to conduct military operations against Pakistan, and, with the escalation of the covert war against Syria, it is becoming ever clearer that imperialism’s aims in that country are at least in part directed towards improving the US’s strategic position should open war with Iran become a reality.
Ramin Mehmanparast, a spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry, noted with the most delicate diplomatic language that “Not only will the ‘strategic pact’ not resolve Afghanistan’s security problems, but it will intensify insecurity and instability in Afghanistan … the status of US military bases in Afghanistan is unclear, and the security duties of US forces lack transparency.”
Despite all the propaganda surrounding the pact, the fact remains that the US continues to hold back on making commitments to Karzai and the Afghan puppets that the US will not use its Afghan bases to conduct operations outside of Afghanistan.
Deadly drone attacks against Pakistanis led to the refusal by Pakistan to allow the US to continue to route its supplies through the country after the United States killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on the Afghan border in a single attack last November. The closing of these vital support arteries in turn led to the costly negotiations imperialism was forced to make with the governments of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and elsewhere in the region over alternative supply (escape) routes out of Afghanistan [reported in the last Proletarian].
Despite this, US forces continue to bomb Pakistani villages, and a drone attack on 24 May killed a further 10 ‘militants’ in a north-western Pakistani village. According to records kept by Chinese news agency Xinhua, that brings the total number of reported dead from such strikes this year to 108. In an article published on 25 May, a Xinhua correspondent wrote:
“The Nato summit in Chicago last weekend saw an unexpected invitation to attend extended to Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.
“Zardari attended, and Nato leaders had high hopes that there would be a breakthrough in negotiations over using the southern supply route into and out of Afghanistan.
“The Nato leaders agreed in Chicago to remove combat troops and equipment from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, and the southern supply route, which began at the southern port city of Karachi and ended at south-western Chamman and north-western Torkham border, would be their best withdrawal option.
“Before the suspension, at least 70 percent of Nato’s supplies to Afghanistan and 40 percent of its fuel needs were sent through Pakistan.
“Now, supplies must take a much longer and more expensive route from the north, through Russia and other neighbouring states.
“The southern route was shut to Nato troops and supplies after relations between Pakistan and Nato/the United States worsened in November …
“Relations worsened further on Wednesday, when Pakistani authorities announced that a doctor accused of helping the United States find al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan was to be jailed for 33 years …
“The United States reacted to Wednesday’s imprisonment of the doctor by withholding $33m in aid each year as a symbolic riposte to Pakistan’s action.”
It seems that, no matter what imperialism schemes to accomplish in its Afghan adventure, the fantastical dreams of George W Bush and others of an easy win have mutated into a terrifying nightmare. This nightmare has ended in death for untold thousands of Afghan fighters and civilians, as well as for thousands of US and other Nato soldiers who’ve been sent to an early grave. And it goes on for the many more thousands who’ll surely have their lives squandered for the sake of a regime whose only interest is in serving big business, no matter what the human or environmental cost, and no matter whether it be ‘its own’ people or those of distant, foreign lands who are suffering so unnecessarily.
No pact, deal, trick or treachery will in the long run save the imperialists from the fate which awaits them, however, for in the words of Mao Zedong:
“‘Lifting a rock only to drop it on one’s own feet’ is a Chinese folk saying to describe the behaviour of certain fools. The reactionaries in all countries are fools of this kind. In the final analysis, their persecution of the revolutionary people only serves to accelerate the people’s revolutions on a broader and more intense scale.” (Speech at the meeting of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution, 6 November 1957)