THE PRESS has lately been full of mournful stories concerning the mounting death toll among young soldiers serving in Afghanistan. And this is being used by sections of the ruling class, through the newspapers and television channels that they own, to demand that more and more troops, helicopters and other equipment are poured into this unfolding tragedy. It would only increase the death toll on both sides.
Western imperialism still does not get the message – after Vietnam, Iraq and countless other struggles – that invading other countries and killing their people turns them against you. The western media give no thought whatever to the far higher death toll of Afghan combatants and civilians, who include children and the elderly.
Every helicopter gunship strike or bombing raid that leaves children, women, teenagers and the elderly scattered, broken and bleeding, makes the Afghans hate their invaders more. Those who would otherwise not have much time for the Taliban will turn to this movement as their only protection and the only way they have of striking back at the murderers of their loved ones.
The United States led invasion is the best recruiting agent the Taliban have ever had – in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
We are told that if Nato troops withdraw from Afghanistan the Taliban will dominate and will inflict a brutal, feudalistic regime as it did before; in which women will be the worst sufferers. But the regime of feudalistic warlords supported by Nato is very little different. Women in Afghanistan are no better off under the western puppets than under the Taliban – and the leading western warmongers do not care a hoot; they simply use the issue of women’s rights to try to quell opposition to the invasion from their own populations.
The United States wants to dominate oil supplies in Central Asia; it wants direct access to the borders of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. And it wants to complete its encirclement of Russia with Nato bases and to put on one the border with China.
The real liberation of Afghan women – and peasant and working class men – will come from the internal class struggle in that country. It will be supported by progressives around the world but it cannot be imposed from outside. It certainly cannot be delivered at the point of Nato guns; they will only drive the population back further into feudalism.
And all Afghans over the age of 30 or so can remember the time when that country had a socialist government with progressive policies: equal rights for all, education for all children and even school milk every day for schoolchildren.
That government struggled to deliver these advances in the most rural and backward areas but in the towns people lived a free and equal life. The education delivered then has not gone away or been forgotten; it is buried now but it will flower again.
The country needs peace and trade with other countries, communications and economic development and industrialisation. It needs a growing working class with the class consciousness to defy the warlords and the Taliban and throw off the yoke of feudalism. That process will take time but it cannot be imposed from outside.
ANOTHER BENEFIT the war in Afghanistan brings to western imperialism is that the endless attention to it provides a diversion from the economic situation at home. None of the leaders of western political parties understand their own economic system and sometimes their proposals are laughable.
For example Tory leader David Cameron’s announcement last week that if he is elected, he would give far more sweeping powers to the Bank of England. He says this will help to impose a stricter discipline on the banks.
At face value he is proposing to transfer this power from the elected Parliament to the bankers, as if they can be trusted to regulate themselves without any democratic intervention.
The reality is that the democratic intervention was an illusion anyway. The Bank of England – representing British finances in an ocean of giant multi-national financial bodies stands no chance of regulating them or even financial practices within Britain – anymore than our Parliamentary talking shop ever did.
The only difference is that now the truth that Marx and Engels understood and wrote about 150 years ago is becoming plainer to the population in general.