Americans withdraw from Afghanistan to have a free hand elsewhere
(«Proletarian»; Nr. 18; Winter 2021-2022)
Collapse of a PUPPET regime
Nothing helped: neither the “historic” agreements signed in February 2020 in Doha under Donald Trump between the Taliban and the Americans for the opening of peace negotiations, nor the weapons left in quantity to the Afghan army, nor the repeated declarations of American support to the Afghan government and institutions: in a few days the Kabul regime collapsed, as soon as the American troops began their withdrawal, the loyalist troops refusing to fight, and the provincial authorities offering only minimal resistance or even lending allegiance to the Taliban.
Symbol of this collapse: the precipitous flight of President Ashraf Ghani, without even taking the time to warn his ministers and only a few hours after a meeting with Joe Biden in which the American president assured him of his unfailing support, following the Taliban’s entry into the capital without a fight... And if the Americans and their allies have been able to repatriate thousands of nationals and protégés, it is thanks to the goodwill of the Taliban that they had driven from power twenty years ago!
The collapse of the regime in Kabul demonstrates that it was held together by the strength of American troops and the international financial transfers decided under the aegis of the United States, without enjoying any solid support among the population. If, thanks to this manna, an economy similar to that of the West had been able to develop in Kabul and in the big cities, creating a westernized middle class, it was only an island ; the great mass of the population, in the countryside where 3/4 of the inhabitants live, but also in the cities, remained apart from it, living in abject poverty: according to the estimates of the NGO’s, 9 million people, that is to say more than a third of the population, have no means of satisfying their basic vital needs and suffer from hunger.
The Kabul regime: misery of the masses and enrichment of the corrupt elites
The western media praises the progress of the status of women, but this progress concerns essentially a thin privileged layer of the urban population. The situation is quite different for the others: Afghanistan is one of the countries with the highest maternal mortality (as well as infant mortality), a country where only 36% of girls go to school (but the percentage of boys barely reaches 50%) (1). They now pretend to discover the generalized corruption in the country, where for example the generals created phantom army corps to receive a part of the American subsidies and where the first president, Hamid Karzaď, was in full view of everyone, linked to the opium traffic of which the country is one of the biggest producers.
But this corruption was only the necessary corollary of the American occupation: it was necessary to buy supporters of the Western presence in one way or another! It is easy to understand why the Afghan masses did not rise up to defend a regime built for the enrichment of a real mafia of corrupt people...
Historically, Afghanistan has always been the plaything of various more powerful countries that have invaded it on several occasions, not because of its own - very limited - wealth, but because of the risk of disruption it represented in the region. It was in the name of maintaining regional stability (read: stability of the Soviet presence) that the Russians invaded in 1979, as the British did in the previous century to protect their Indian empire; and it was in the name of international stability that the Americans did the same in the following century; these different invaders using as a pretext, or relying on, internal rivalries between ethnic groups and regional centers of power, the weak economic and social development of the country having never allowed its unification.
Withdrawal from Afghanistan signals a shift in inter-imperialist relations in Asia and the world
American imperialism has been trying to disengage from Afghanistan for some time, fearing the fate of the Russians, who were bled by an endless guerrilla war (supported and armed by the USA!). The Obama administration, which included Joe Biden, already wanted to leave the country; but convinced by the military that victory was within reach, it stepped up military operations, increasing the number of American soldiers from 30,000 to more than a hundred thousand, before reducing the number of soldiers in the face of the lack of results of this “surge”. It was up to the Trump administration to draw the conclusion by opening negotiations with the Taliban for a definitive withdrawal. The Biden administration decided to respect this agreement and to leave the country quickly, regardless of the immediate consequences.
The international media present the American withdrawal as a victory for the Russians and the Chinese, but nothing is less certain: if these two imperialisms will try to fill the void left by the Americans, they fear above all the “destabilization” provoked by this withdrawal, which the Beijing government has judged “irresponsible”; the Chinese fear the influence in their country of the Uighur rebels fighting alongside the Taliban; as for the Russians, they have organized military maneuvers with Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in recent weeks near the Afghan border: for these border states and for Turkmenistan, vassals of Russia, weak and unstable, the victory of the Taliban constitutes a threat to their internal security.
However, this withdrawal is part of an ongoing mutation of inter-imperialist relations that prepares the alignments for a future world conflict.
The proletarians should not be mistaken: the withdrawal from Afghanistan does not mean that US imperialism is going to stop its interventions, military or not, all over the world; on the contrary, it means that knowing that it cannot intervene everywhere at the same time, it wanted to get rid of a burden in order to have a free hand elsewhere, where the confrontations are more important. At a time when the United States is pulling out of Afghanistan, the American vice-president was completing a tour of Asia during which she brought US support against China to countries such as Vietnam from which it had been ejected 46 years ago...
This coincidence has symbolic value; American imperialism, even weakened by the rise of its rivals, remains the dominant imperialism, capable of coming back after its defeats. The scenes of chaos at the Kabul airport are not a debacle; American imperialism is and will always be as aggressive, it will not hesitate to unleash a new world conflict to defend its interests and its domination. If this prospect is not immediate, it is nevertheless approaching, as the crises of the world economy are worsening.
U.S. imperialism is withdrawing from Kabul, but it is still the number one enemy of the masses and the world proletariat, the pillar of international capitalism.
It will have to be brought down by the communist revolution of the American proletarians and of the whole world for humanity to end wars forever !
August, 30th 2021
International Communist Party