The end of US occupation of Afghanistan has been an immense defeat of this imperialist nation. A country which has spent billions of dollars in carrying on its longest war in one of the world’s poorest nations and then shamelessly destroying whatever came to hand exposes the blatant ruthlessness of the colonizer. What did the US achieve out of this war? And all the other wars it has been sponsoring since 2001? According to the Brown University’s “Costs of War” project, all the post 9/11 wars have cost more than $8 trillion dollars to date. This can be easily explained if we call the USA, “United States of Corporations.” The wars of aggression are critical means of maintaining its highly militarized imperialist hegemony.
It has been said here and there that two parties gained from the war: the US Military Industrial Complex (MIC) and the Taliban.
By definition the MIC functions through a close parasitic relationship between military, its bureaucracy and the corporations (and their representatives in governments). In other words, the MIC is an amalgam of defense contractors, private arm dealers, lobbyists and Pentagon’s officials. They hold their interest in propagating endless war for super-profits close to heart: Afghanistan heartbreakingly is the best case study. Even very recently, after the defeat and the withdrawal of the US, Republican senator Lindsay Graham stated on BBC that “We will be going back into Afghanistan.”
It’s now well known that top profit-makers in the US’ longest war include its top defense corporations Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Boeing and Northrop Grumman. According to Global Times, ‘In less than two decades, the price of shares of the top five defense contractors mentioned before has increased between three and 12 times.”
On the books now is the further expansion of the Intelligence Industrial Complex lodged within the MIC, namely C4ISR—command, control, communication, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. Although the US and allied troops are no longer in Afghanistan, Afghanistan’s geopolitical significance as well as rich mineral resources is that western imperialist forces led by the US will now depend on surveillance and reconnaissance. The steps forward for the US are clear; US President Biden has stated that the ‘terrorist threat has metastasized beyond Afghanistan.’ As stated by him, clearly the US has its sights on South Asia, Middle East and Africa and they are now emphasizing their use of counter-terrorism over-the-horizon capabilities, which brings us back to the mega-dollar deals that the war industry needs to keep the sinking ship of capitalism to survive.
One can only surmise that the hegemonic fascist imperialist regime of the US is now once more on its much touted bandwagon of running after terrorists. Though of course, one cannot forget that the 9/11 events were nothing but the ‘timely’ making of a new generation of enemies and no other but the US and its allies can be blamed for the terrorist cells operating from Afghanistan and elsewhere. They were the ones who in the 1970s and 80s were responsible for the creation of the so-called Mujahidin to fight against the invasion of the former Soviet Union.
Therefore, the creation of regressive forces, of extremist religious forces in Afghanistan can be put solely at the hands of the US, though of course the former Soviet Union cannot be absolved of the wars of hegemony it had also carried out in Afghanistan. One cannot also forget that if the home-grown socialist forces would have been allowed to foster in Afghanistan, the people would have been saved from the current debacle that they face. Nutrition, health, education, social order, women rights, ethnic and minority rights would have been nowhere near the current miserable state. For the monopoly capital of the world, it had been unthinkable to allow people’s rights to prosper. For US imperialism, women’s rights and human rights are weapons of war; national liberation and democracy are equal to terrorism; socialist and communist countries face vile human-rights abuses through US sanctions – and now Afghanistan will also face the range of weapons that the US has in its arsenal while once again it used its sick rhetoric of human rights abuses that Afghans face at the hands of the Taliban.
As the finest lackeys of the US, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund both have stopped funding to Afghanistan. This is despite the acute hunger, malnutrition and poverty faced by Afghan people, especially women and children. No need to mention the missionary like zeal with which the US had gone into Afghanistan to save Afghan women from the hands of the Taliban.
The US has been exposed shamelessly; it has been getting immense criticism from all corners of the world but of course lacks the shame to acknowledge its defeat and the horrific suffering, destruction and deaths that it has brought to the people of Afghanistan. According to UNICEF, the country has “one of the world’s highest rates of stunting and wasting in children under five: 41 percent, with stunting at an extremely high rate of 9.5%, and one in three adolescent girls suffers from anemia, which is another glaring failure of the US to bring even a modicum of social development to the country. Just in 2021 March, Afghanistan has been highlighted as a ‘Hunger Hotspot’ country suffering from acute food insecurity. These are just a few of the very long-term costs that Afghan people will keep on bearing not only now, but in the next decades.
What awaits the people of Afghanistan? There is no doubt that war-torn nation faces further diabolical interventions from the various other imperialist powers including China and Russia. Countries like Pakistan and India will also interfere based on their so-called national interest while essentially driven by the semi-colonial semi-feudal features of their states. The people will face division based on religion and ethnicity – the woman card has already been much used by liberal forces and will no doubt continue to be used. In short Afghanistan is very far from a democracy, peace and prosperity.
Genuine democracy, national liberation and just and lasting peace are only possible based on self-determination of the Afghan society. There is no doubt that as has been shown in history, the many forms of struggles that will emerge will also push forward class struggles that would be able to provide an ideological and political organization leading to the victory of the people. The defeat of US imperialism in Afghanistan is a beacon for the people across the world but especially South Asia. It gives us the people impetus to unite against the looming clouds of wars in our horizons to gain control over our resources, our land, and our rights. No doubt, the only way to end imperialist wars of aggression is to wage people’s wars against imperialism! ###