One year on from the Afghan rout: collective punishment continues

Having been beaten militarily, the USA and its allies continue to use economic and terroristic means to try to keep the Afghan people down.

Proletarian writers

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The imperialists have good reason to fear the realignment and rejuvenation of Afghanistan, which has the potential to become a key player in the anti-imperialist camp.

Proletarian writers

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Seeing the Afghan resistance chase the US imperialists and their satraps out of Afghanistan warmed the hearts of every progressive-minded person on the planet. We got to witness another ‘Saigon moment’, with Americans and their puppets and collaborators being evacuated by helicopter from rooftops. Former president Ashraf Ghani was forced to flee, stuffing his helicopter full of looted cash as he left. (Russia says Afghan president fled with four cars, chopper full of money by Yaron Steinbuch, New York Post, 16 August 2021)

Even as the Americans tried to come to terms with the debacle unfolding before their eyes, Britain’s imperialists were wondering if they might independently retain some military presence in Afghanistan. In a farcical debate, British politicians considered staying in the country after the US forces had left. (Britain will keep boots on the ground in Afghanistan with special forces set to stay by Danielle Sheridan, The Telegraph, 4 July 2021)

But almost a year has passed since we witnessed this rout unfold in real time. As the west-created ‘Afghan army’ disappeared into dust and the Taliban calmly walked into power, where is Afghanistan now?

Collective punishment

By February 2022, even the imperialist mouthpiece the Guardian was forced to point out that the west has been engaged in collective punishment against Afghanistan by freezing the country’s assets – a vindictive revenge against its people for having kicked out the US forces and their stooges in government.

“The price of basic foodstuffs has risen by 40 percent. More than half the population is in need of humanitarian assistance, and the poverty rate is in the region of 90 percent. By some distance, these are the highest levels of distress anywhere in the world.

“The UN children’s fund Unicef estimates that more than a million Afghan children are at risk of dying from malnutrition or hunger-related disease. That needs to change, because what the USA is doing amounts to a humanitarian crime. And those who know what’s happening but keep silent are accessories to that crime.” (The US economic war on Afghanistan amounts to a humanitarian crime by Larry Elliott, 6 February 2022)

Continued attacks on Afghan sovereignty

The attacks on Afghanistan did not cease last year. Even the withdrawal itself was a fraud. As the New York Times outlined, the USA had privatised its war in Afghanistan:

“Instead of declared troops in Afghanistan, the United States will most likely rely on a shadowy combination of clandestine special operations forces, Pentagon contractors and covert intelligence operatives to find and attack the most dangerous al-Qaeda or Islamic State threats, current and former American officials said.” (Biden to withdraw all combat troops from Afghanistan by 11 September by Helene Cooper, Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Eric Schmitt, 13 April 2021)

The USA recently launched a strike on the Afghan capital in which the White House claimed to have “killed an al-Qaeda leader”.

US president Joe Biden announced at the beginning of August that US forces had “successfully concluded an airstrike in Kabul that killed the emir of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri”, and claimed that “now justice has been delivered”. According to CNN, and in a clear violation of the country’s sovereignty, the USA did not even alert Taliban officials ahead of the strike, never mind ask their permission to take action inside Afghanistan’s borders. (US kills Qaeda leader with drone strike that ‘violates Afghanistan’s sovereignty’, Global Times, 2 August 2022)

Meanwhile, plenty of observers are taking the news with a hefty pinch of salt. After all, the last time a CIA drone was supposed to have struck an ‘Isis-K fighter’, the attack actually killed an aid worker delivering water and his seven children. The only source backing up the claimed “striking of Zawahiri” is the White House.

It is perfectly possible that Mr Biden’s government has invented the whole story in order to give his failing administration a boost in advance of autumn elections in which his party is expected to do catastrophically badly.

Eurasian century – the rebuilding of Afghanistan

In spite of the United States’ best efforts, the future of Afghanistan is beginning to look brighter. With the occupation ousted and imperialism no longer controlling the country, development can finally be kickstarted. Gwadar port in Pakistan is planned to become a regional trading hub, able to move an annual capacity of 54,700 tons of goods up through Afghanistan and on into central Asia.

“With the stabilisation of the domestic security situation in Afghanistan, the Afghan transit entrepot trade has also become the main business of Gwadar port.

“Zhang Baozhong, chairman of China Overseas Ports Holding Company, said that, in the future, his company will further develop the access to the sea for central Asian countries, and build Gwadar port into an important port for the transit trade of central Asian inland countries.” (BRI projects at port of Gwadar Sea and Piraeus create new momentum for regional development and connectivity under a shared future, Global Times, 28 July 2022)

Conversely, the United States has nothing to offer the world anymore but a face of death. Its rulers have long feared that “population growth [in the developing world] is a threat to US national security” that could “undermine US economic power”. This was stated explicitly in national security study memorandum (NSSM) 200, otherwise known as the Kissinger report of 1974, which, among others, made the following headline observations:

1. Population growth in developing countries provides those nations with more geopolitical power and fuels possible opposition to US interests.

2. The United States relies on countries being underdeveloped in order to easily obtain natural resources.

3. High birth rates result in more young adults who oppose established governments [ie, stooge regimes].

4. US businesses are vulnerable to interference by foreign governments, which need to provide for their growing populations.

Imperialism needs to retard the world’s technical development and productive forces if it is to maintain its parasitism and monopoly status. It should not be a surprise, therefore, that the USA has for some time already been promoting unrest and separatism in Balochistan, a Pakistani region bordering Afghanistan.

In fact, the US’s agents are sowing terrorism and separatism in the province that just happens to be home to the aforementioned Gwadar port, whose development has so much potential to improve the lives of the masses in Afghanistan and across the region. This is almost a rinse-and-repeat replay of the attempt to weaponise jihadis in China’s Xinjiang region.

Of course, when China does anything to crack down on this subversion, it immediately runs into a barrage of western slander and lies. On the other hand, there has been little to no coverage or outrage regarding recent terror attacks against Chinese engineers working on Belt and Road infrastructure projects in Balochistan:

“In April, a terrorist bombing targeted a hotel in Pakistan’s southwest Balochistan province hosting China’s ambassador to Pakistan, Nong Rong. Ambassador Nong Rong was not at the hotel at the time of the bombing, but the attack still ended up killing four and wounding several more.

“In July, an explosion targeted a bus carrying Chinese engineers working on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), part of China’s wider Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This attack killed 13, including nine of the Chinese engineers.” (US fingerprints on terrorism aimed at China-Pakistan Economic Corridor by Brian Berletic, New Eastern Outlook, 22 July 2021)

Selig Harrison, director of the Asia programme at the Centre for International Policy (a US-funded think tank) has been cooking up a ‘Free Balochistan’ operation for some years.

“Most important, it should aid the six million Baloch insurgents fighting for independence from Pakistan in the face of growing ISI repression. Pakistan has given China a base at Gwadar in the heart of Baloch territory. So an independent Balochistan would serve US strategic interests in addition to the immediate goal of countering islamist forces.” (Free Balochistan, National Interest, 2011)

Can a multipolar world exist?

It is clear what the imperialists hope to achieve by their relentless and ruthless sabotage operations, which are taking place in some form or another at almost every node on the Belt and Road’s routeways. What is not clear is whether their bloody provocations will have the desired effect.

China, for example, has put in place a very effective programme for combating US-sponsored separatism in both Tibet and Xinjiang, which involves effective security measures combined with meaningful social and economic actions to improve the lot of the poor so that they no longer fall for the siren songs of imperialism’s jihadi gangs.

By providing vocational training, jobs programmes and huge infrastructure development to raise the prosperity levels of the areas concerned, China is cutting off the ability of the USA’s provocateurs to make trouble at the root, effectively killing off the human fuel for terrorist death squads even as the USA and its satraps are working overtime to sow discord, poverty and death.

The countries and peoples on the BRI’s routes desperately need the peaceful development that is being offered to them. The only question is whether China can help regions such as central and southern Asia develop fast enough to outpace US-sponsored destabilisation attempts.

With economic problems mounting in the west (resulting from the capitalist crisis and made exponentially worse by the failed economic war against Russia), and with yet another military defeat looming for the USA/Nato (in the form of collapse of the Ukrainian army in the Donbass), China has many reasons to feel optimistic that its rational model may yet prevail.

But the imperialists’ determination to hang on to their dominant position remains a very real threat, for imperialism is a global economic system that must expand and dominate or die. As China and Russia grow in economic and military strength and independence, the help they can offer to poor countries with trade, development and self-defence is becoming ever more reliable and attractive. It is no wonder the imperialists are so terrified – and so desperate to stop the emergence of a strong anti-imperialist camp while they retain any ability to do so.

The rulers of the USA, Britain et al have made it clear that they will go to any lengths to stop the people of the world breaking free from their control and becoming the masters of their own destinies. The more threatened they feel, the more bloodthirsty and desperate they will become.

In the end, only complete destruction of their bloodthirsty economic system will allow humanity to prosper in peace and plenty.