By Abayomi Azikiwe
After twenty years of direct military engagement and over four decades of destabilization, the United States has left a trail of devastation in Afghanistan.
The crises of food deficits, economic underdevelopment and destroyed towns, villages and urban areas, will require enormous global assistance in preventing widespread famine and further internal conflict.
A recent statement from the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) indicated that four million people in the country are in dire need of nutritional assistance. Many of the people in the greatest need of food reside in the rural areas.
FAO Director of the Office of Emergencies and Resilience has told the Associated Press that 70% of the nearly 40 million people in Afghanistan live in rural areas. 7.3 million of the population are facing drought in 25 out of a total of 34 provinces in the country. The lack of food is compounding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic which has not received adequate attention from the western media.
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Director General has warned that if there is not a concerted international effort to support Afghanistan, the consequences will have grave implications:
“In an interview with The Associated Press, Filippo Grandi said the world faces a difficult choice. He said it needs to balance the danger that an isolated Afghanistan would descend into violence and chaos against the political minefield supporting a Taliban-led government would present. ‘The international community will have to balance pragmatism, the need to keep Afghanistan stable and viable, and the political considerations that would mean supporting a government led by the Taliban,’ said Grandi.”
On September 14, Acting Foreign Minister of the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan, Khan Muttaqi, announced during a press conference that the Central Asian state was appealing to the international community to resume humanitarian aid. With the announcement of the U.S. withdrawal by the administration of President Joe Biden, many of the aid agencies halted their work in the country.
“Afghanistan is a war-hit country and it needs the international community’s assistance in different sectors, especially education, health and development,” Amir Khan Muttaqi emphasized to the international press. The newly created Afghanistan government, composed of members of the Taliban, has been holding regular media briefings since it marched into the capital of Kabul during the month of August.
During the course of its occupation in Afghanistan, the country became a de facto neo-colony of Washington. The U.S. employed thousands of its own citizens and residents along with many Afghanistan nationals.
These functionaries of the Pentagon, State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and a host of private consultants and contractors, were paid in U.S. dollars and the local Afghani currency bolstered by the world capitalist monetary system. When the rapid retreat of the U.S. was imminent, the national treasury said to be based on $US10 billion in foreign reserves were frozen by Washington and Wall Street.
At present there is a cash shortage in the country hampering the ability of banks to allow customers to access their money. The Afghanistan government has begun to “nationalize” the accounts of wealthy individuals who were closely allied with the U.S.
An article published in India Today noted that:
“Afghanistan’s Taliban-controlled central bank said it had seized nearly $US12.4 million in cash and gold from former top government officials on Wednesday (September 15), including former vice president Amrullah Saleh, Reuters reported. In a statement, the central bank said the money and gold had been kept in officials’ houses, although it did not yet know for what purpose. In a sign that the Taliban are looking to recoup assets belonging to former government officials, the central bank issued a circular to local banks last week asking them to freeze the accounts of politically exposed individuals linked to the previous government, two commercial bankers said.”
Financial institutions and government officials fear that the lack of currency will fuel inflation making the cost of basic commodities even more expensive. The Pentagon and NATO evacuation of their own nationals, permanent residents and those considered “eligible” for immigration status in western and other countries has resulted in the departure of some of the most educated and skilled personnel in Afghanistan.
Investigation Reveals Drone Attack Killed U.S. Allies
One day prior to the final airlift by the Pentagon, August 29, the U.S. launched a drone attack against a residential location in Kabul. Military officials claimed that the target was being monitored for involvement in another possible bombing directed at the Marines or other soldiers.
Thirteen Pentagon troops were killed in an attack which had been predicted by military intelligence for several days. Thousands of Marines were stationed in and around the Hamid Karzai International Airport in order to process those U.S. citizens, residents and migrants seeking to flee Afghanistan.
Subsequent news reports soon after the drone attack which killed many civilians, documented that the Afghanistan national targeted had worked with a humanitarian agency based in the U.S. He had been cleared along with other family members to leave Afghanistan during the airlift. The materials he was seen loading into the vehicle by a video camera was in all likelihood personal property and luggage for his family in preparation for travel outside the country on a U.S. military aircraft.
An Associated Press investigation published on September 15 said of the situation:
“The Afghan man who was killed in a U.S. drone strike last month was an enthusiastic and beloved longtime employee at an American humanitarian organization, his colleagues say, painting a stark contrast to the Pentagon’s claims that he was an Islamic State group militant about to carry out an attack on American troops. Signs have been mounting that the U.S. military may have targeted the wrong man in the Aug. 29 strike in Kabul, with devastating consequences, killing seven children and two other adults from his family. The Pentagon says it is further investigating the strike, but it has no way to do so on the ground in Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover, severely limiting its ability to gather evidence.”
This cold-blooded murder of Afghans is not an isolated incident. During the entire course of the occupation beginning in 2001, the Pentagon has launched untold numbers of drone and other attacks against those claimed by Washington to be “terrorists”, while afterwards when investigations were conducted, the victims are often times unconnected to the Taliban, al-Qaeda, ISIS or any other perceived enemy of the U.S.
The People’s Republic of China has already demanded that the U.S. be punished for the wanton murder of Afghan civilians. This announcement was made by the Minister of the Chinese Mission to the UN in Geneva, Jiang Duan. The call came amid a joint statement emanating from the 48th Session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHCR).
Other nations are seeking to aid Afghanistan in its earliest stage of rebuilding. The Islamic Republic of Iran landed a commercial flight at the Kabul airport on September 15.
Neighboring Pakistan has sent a delegation to Afghanistan while encouraging the world, including the U.S., to engage with the Taliban-led government in Kabul. Moeed Yusuf, the National Security Advisor for Pakistan, urged that Washington should listen to its appeal while the State Department has said it is reassessing its relationship with Islamabad. In addition, Pakistan on September 15 announced it was hosting a visit by the Afghanistan Women’s soccer team.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan held discussions over the telephone on September 14 on the current developments in Afghanistan. Khan urged Putin to maintain close contact with Pakistan in regard to relations with Kabul.
India Today reported on September 15 saying:
“UN envoy Debora Lyons met the Taliban’s Qatar office deputy head Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai and international partners in Doha and discussed humanitarian needs and the rights of all Afghans, especially women and girls, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said. ‘They also discussed the importance of an inclusive government to enhance Afghanistan’s ability to respond to the daunting economic and development challenges and to ensure the delivery of much needed humanitarian assistance with international support,’ TOLO news quoted UNAMA as saying.”
Therefore, many nations and multilateral institutions are holding discussions and developing cooperative projects with Afghanistan. This posture contrasts with the official positions of the U.S., Britain and the European Union (EU) where all three centers of imperialist power are attempting to thwart the ability of Kabul to reconstruct its society after decades of interventions.
Role of the Pentagon and NATO After the Defeat in Afghanistan
In excess of $US8 trillion has been squandered since the declaration of the so-called “war on terrorism” by the U.S. and NATO. Capitalist countries are facing profound challenges as the combination of failed military adventures, climate change and the social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has stretched their capacity to respond to such enormous crises.
The appearance of a new alignment militarily against China can only result in yet another catastrophic defeat which will have even deeper effects on the economy and social stability of the U.S. Iran has proclaimed that it will not curtail its own national security and foreign policy imperatives in exchange for improved relations with Washington.
Progressive forces inside the U.S. must guard against any attempts by the current administration of President Joe Biden to provoke a military confrontation with Beijing, Tehran, Pyongyang, Havana, Caracas, or anywhere else. There is no such thing as a justified imperialist bombing, intervention or occupation. The actual enemies of the working and oppressed peoples of the U.S. are to be found among the bourgeoisie which is the only class that profits from the war machine.