Tuesday, 21 September 2010
The lost cause that is Afghanistan
Herald foreign affairs editor David Pratt is correct when he writes 'We are losing the war in Afghanistan. The mission is lost' ['Now civil war looms for the lost cause that is Afghanistan' Herald 17/9/10] and the reasons for this looming defeat have been obvious for some time. Uppermost among them is the fact that the USA and Britain are occupying a country who doesn't want us to be there. The majority of Afghanistan's 33million citizens now see Britain and American soldiers as armies of occupation. The origins of this view lie in Tony Blair's decision to invade Afghanistan in 2001 claiming they were responsible for the 9/11 attacks. He knew then, as we know now, not a single Afghan was involved. He also knew the Taliban had offered to hand over Bin Laden for trial three times but George Bush preferred 'a military solution'. So Britain invaded a country guilty of no crime, has occupied it for the best part of a decade and some 50,000 innocent Afghan civilians have now been killed. No wonder they don't want us to be there!
The insurgency is winning in Afghanistan because Britain and the US, in time honoured colonial fashion, alienated the population by installing a corrupt and illegitimate puppet regime with Hamid Karzai at its head, despised by its citizens.
All the polls in this country highlight the lack of confidence the UK population have in the political leaders as 75% want to see the troops brought back home. Why, people increasingly ask, should another 340 British soldiers die in this shameful war. They will die, we are told, until the thoroughly discredited Afghan army and police force can take over. There is in reality no such thing as a National army or police force in Afghanistan only local militias and paramilitaries loyal to the various warlords and gangsters who pay their wages. All the parties at Westminster who prop up this futile 'handover strategy' are well aware of the 'back channels' opened up to the Taliban leadership just as they were with the IRA in the 1980's. So the conclusion David Pratt rightly poses is that Britain's legacy to Afghanistan is the same blood curdling civil war which followed the Soviet withdrawal of the 1980's.
The Scottish Socialist Party in contrast to the Westminster parties campaigns to bring home the troops. If Afghanistan is to prosper as a democratic and stable country the future rests with people like the remarkable Afghan MP Malalai Joya -one of the very few actually elected. She campaigns for a democratic, multi-ethnic Afghanistan and she asks of people who share her vision that we first of all withdraw all foreign forces from her country.