Contributed by Joe Montero
As the fallout from the fallout in Afghanistan continues, most of the comment from our political leaders and the media concentrates on these three topics. The first two are refugees trying to get out and the war had been about improving the life of Afghans. The last is whether Joe Biden or Donald trump are the cause of the failed mission.
Obviously, the refugee exodus is real. Aside from any repercussions that might come from the Taliban side, many of these refugees are scared because they know that many of their people consider them to be traitors who collaborated with the invaders. Something like this happened after the Second World War in Europe with those who collaborated with the German occupation. The similarity is that in both cases, people do not take kindly to those who helped the occupation.
In Afghanistan’s case, there are also those who fear the imposition of Sharia Law and its restrictions, particularly for women.
Photo by Wakil Kooshar/AFP: Refugees waiting at the airport in Kabul
There is a good argument for helping to resettle those trying to get out, so long as care is taken to not include those guilty of war crimes.
Claims that the war brought some prosperity, improved government services, and brought equal opportunity for girls in education and work are exaggerated too distortion. Most of the money allocated for these purposes on paper has been syphoned off into the bribery industry. The reason is that the occupying forces have been dependent of resurrecting the warlord factions to give the post invasion administration an Afghan face. And to do this, they must be paid off.
The education system has been riddled with schools, teachers, and students that exist only on paper. Afghan pharmacies are stocked with fake, expired or low quality medicines, many smuggled in from neighbouring Pakistan. At the personal level, corruption was fuelled by civil servants like teachers earning only one-tenth the salaries of better-connected Afghans working for foreign NGOs and contractors. The outcome of systemic corruption has been to add to simmering discontent.
Honesty demands that it be admitted that behind the present situation is the military invasion under the false pretences of being there to help the people and of equating al Qaeda with the Taliban. The only connections between al Qaeda and the Taliban are that both were initially supported and built by the United States, and that the Taliban tolerated the United States backed al Qaeda during the effort to oust the Russians.
It would wise to learn from the lesson of the history of this unfortunate nation. Since the late 1880’s Afghans fought three wars to prevent being colonised by Great Britain. The British lost them all. It was the Romans, Turks, and Mongols were sent packing before them. In the late twentieth century it was the Russians crossed the border and found themselves in a 9 year war.
Photo from Vitaly Armand/AFP/Getty: Russians withdrawing to Uzbekistan in1988
The difference here is that the Russians were invited by the then Afghan government. The problem was that on the ground the country was controlled by warlords and the government sought to break their power. By failing to win over the population the Russians were kicked out.
Afghans have a proud history of fighting for their independence and have always been ready to fight for it. If you don’t understand this, you understand nothing about them.
The Americans repeated the mistake in 2001. They had helped the warlords defeat the Russians by arming them and providing political support. This included the Taliban. It was never about the rights of Afghans. The purpose was to get the Russians out.
Once in control the war lords turned on each other and it as the Taliban that proved to be the only ones able to impose order and end the fighting, even if this was sometimes brutal.
But in 2001 when the Taliban were no longer useful and refused to do what they were told by Washington. The new invasion came, under the pretext that Afghanistan was the epicentre of international terrorism. This was a lie designed to soften up domestic opinion.
Those who understood the lesson of history always knew that the war was going to fail. Those who did, not were going to repeat the old mistake.
But there remains a colonial mindset in the heads of those who rule the West, which refuses to believe that anyone can stand in their way, plus the ability to sometimes fool the public into believing that they are there for the good of these people. Isn’t this the way it is with all empires? The helping hand illusion masks invasion with a mission to civilise.
We should know in Australia that taking this land from the original inhabitants was supposed to bring civilisation. That was the cover then and is the cover to justify invading Afghanistan.
In 2011 Julian Assange, after the WikiLeaks release of documents exposing the real nature of this invasion went viral, said that this war was unwinnable.
The fault for the American defeat does not lie at the feet of either Joe Biden or Donald Trump. It was written in from the start.
It is now coming to light, mainly from former military personnel who have done service in Afghanistan, that the war was in the process of being lost for some time. The re-birth of the Taliban has not been sudden, and the population has never accepted foreign troops in their land. military action has been to control the population and not to help them.
Whether we like it or not, the Taliban are seen by their own people as the only force capable of ending decades of war. If this was not the case, the quick final victory would not have been possible. The tide of support explains why the army and government hobbled together by the United states fell over so quickly once foreign troops were removed.
Like the American public, Australians need to come to terms with the truth. We must also come to terms about how the media has been complicit in spreading a lie and continues to do so.
Sadly, the ground is being prepared for further intervention in Afghanistan. Washington’s new strategy is to turn to economic warfare.
The U.S. Treasury has frozen nearly all the Afghan Central Bank’s $9.4 billion in foreign currency reserves, depriving the new government of funds that it will desperately need in the coming months to feed its people and provide basic services.
Under pressure from the Biden administration, the International Monetary Fund decided not to release $450 million in funds that were scheduled to be sent to Afghanistan to help the country cope with the coronavirus pandemic.
Humanitarian aid to Afghanistan was stopped at the 24 August meeting of the G7 nations, due to pressure from Washington and London. Crippling sanctions are likely to soon be applied to prevent the country form trading with the world.
There is already talk about support for the old warlords.
The Morrison government silence shows that it goes along with this.
Does Australia want to go on repeating the same mistake?
We would do much better to act constructively with the new government and helping to make life better for the people. After all, we owe then at least this.