Indefinite War Means Endless Suffering for Afghan People

Jay Becker | October 16, 2015

This war and occupation has never been about “protecting the American people,” or about “freeing Afghanistan” from the feudal Taliban.

President Obama’s announcement that he will cease U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan exposes the utter futility of forcing American style “democracy” on noncompliant populations. Troop levels will remain at somewhere near 10,000 through the end of Obama’s term of office, ostensibly to train local forces to replace the imperial forces of occupation.

We’ve witnessed this before, one notorious example being Richard Nixon’s “Vietnamization” policy. South Vietnamese troops were supposed to replace U.S. ground forces, but their ranks collapsed in short order when U.S. troops were forced to withdraw as Vietnamese liberation forces advanced. Puppet troops are puppet troops and never gain the support of the people.

It is now 14 years since the U.S. first attacked and invaded Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries in the world. Even by official U.S. estimates, around 30,000 Afghan civilians have been killed. Hundreds of thousands have been driven from their homes by bombing, drone attacks, night raids, and special forces operations, and what little infrastructure existed has been devastated in region after region, resulting in rampant child malnutrition and one of the world’s highest rates of mortality in child birth. This is the war that candidate Obama called “the good war” when he ran for President in 2008.

Stories of Taliban atrocities against women are regular features of American news, and they are thoroughly reactionary feudal forces that bring only more misery to the masses, especially women and children. But U.S. soldiers recently blew the whistle on the habit of U.S-allied Afghan Army officers of keeping young boys as sex slaves, including right within joint US/Afghan military bases. When U.S. soldiers brought this up to their superiors, they were told to look the other way. The people of Afghanistan face a “U.S.-backed regime of Dark Ages Islamic fundamentalist warlords who have aligned with the U.S., and on the other side, the oppressive Dark Ages Taliban—all of whom represent nothing but exploitation and oppression.” (“U.S. Bombs Send a Bloody Message to the World,” Revolution newspaper, Oct. 3, 2015)

U.S. forces committed another war crime on October 3 of this year, when U.S. air power destroyed the only clinic in Kunduz, run by Doctors without Borders, that treated everyone needing care. The clinic’s GPS coordinates were well known to the U.S., and clinic personnel frantically called Kabul and Washington DC when the bombardment started, but it continued for at least an hour. Initially the U.S. dismissed this massacre as “collateral damage,” until worldwide outcries forced Obama to personally apologize. To date, the U.S. still refuses to sign off on a truly independent investigation and insists it can investigate itself.

Yesterday, October 15, we learned of another horrific campaign waged by the Obama administration in Afghanistan: “Haymarket,” as revealed by Ryan Devereux in The Intercept. This was a 2+ year high-tech nightmare of drone strikes guided by on-the-ground intelligence, featuring the most elite U.S. military forces and state-of-the-art electronic surveillance. Although the program is still classified, newly leaked U.S. Army analysis indicates that the majority of those killed were not al Qaeda or Taliban but rather “not direct targets,” i.e. civilians and local forces attempting to fight both the U.S. and the Taliban. This is the face of Obama’s “dirty wars” strategy, and whether in the form of “Haymarket” or some other delivery system for death and massive destruction, more troops in Afghanistan can only mean more death and suffering for the people of Afghanistan.

This war and occupation has never been about “protecting the American people,” or about “freeing Afghanistan” from the feudal Taliban. It has always been about securing and expanding U.S. empire, and it will not end until mass, determined political resistance is mobilized in this country that faces up to the reality of this deadly enterprise and rejects the presumption that American lives matter more than others.

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