New Worker Banner

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

US leaves a shattered Afghanistan

by New Worker correspondent

THE STARS AND STRIPES finally came down in Afghanistan on Monday. The last American troops left on the final flight from Kabul airport as Taliban supporters took to the streets of the capital to celebrate by setting off fireworks and firing tracer bullets into the night sky. They leave a country shattered by 20 years of the war that followed the US-led imperialist invasion in 2001 as part of their bid for world domination in the name of a “new world order”, which was eagerly embraced by Tony Blair in Britain and a gaggle of other Western politicians who believed that with the collapse of the Soviet Union no-one could now stand in their way.

The Taliban are back in charge after a war that cost billions of dollars to the US taxpayer and nearly 3,000 casualties of American soldiers, as well as the lives of 250,000 Afghan civilians and the exodus of millions of people out of the country.

In Washington the blame game has started over the chaotic evacuation process that saw everything from terror attacks to stampedes of people desperate to flee. Some 120,000 Afghans fearful of Taliban “justice” have been flown out over the last 17 days but thousands more have been left behind.

lax British

Trump’s supporters blame Biden, whilst the some of the president’s men say lax British security enabled the ISIS suicide bomber to get through the gates of the international airport to launch an attack that claimed the lives of 170 civilians and US soldiers last week.

Less is said about reports that many of the Afghan civilians were mown down by American troops in a “panic shooting” following the attack, or that an innocent Afghan family was wiped out when their car was hit by an American drone during the US reprisal attacks that followed.

Joe Biden addressed the American people on Tuesday to defend his decision to end the war after nearly 20 years of conflict. This was the end of an era the American leader said. In future the USA must learn from its mistakes by setting clear goals when it goes to war and not becoming involved in nation building. “This decision about Afghanistan is not just about Afghanistan, it’s about ending an era of major military operations to remake other countries,” the president said.

The new Taliban government is still to be named as talks continue with the Massoud clan who control the strategic Panjshir valley. Some key ministers in the transitional government have been named, with the new governor of Kabul struggling to revive the commercial life of the capital whilst others negotiate with the Turks and Qataris for help to keep the international airport open.

But the Islamic militia’s first priority is dealing with the humanitarian and economic crisis in the country as well as the threat of collapse of basic services. United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres, who is calling for international efforts to prevent another tragedy, says almost half of the population of that country, 18 million people, currently need humanitarian assistance to survive.

One in three Afghans doesn’t know where their next meal will come from, and more than half of children under five are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition next year, he said.

Now more than ever, the children, women and men of that country need the support and solidarity of the international community, families lose access to basic goods and services every day and a humanitarian catastrophe looms, he stressed.

Guterres called on all parties to facilitate safe and unhindered humanitarian access and to ensure safety for those working on these tasks.