Yesterday, 15 August saw in Kabul another Saigon.
In 1975, the USA was air-lifting its Embassy Staff and as many Vietnamese informers and hangers-on as possible on to helicopters, “sauve qui peut”, transporting them to warships anchored nearby. On each final trip, the Americans just tipped the helicopter off the edge of the warship into the sea. Pure military humiliation. The USA, the world’s biggest army, was routed by nothing more than a committed liberation movement.
Now, nearly 50 years after Saigon, we see the same “sauve qui peut” unfolding under only slightly different circumstances, in Afghanistan. The very Taliban, the fundamentalist rulers which the USA financed and armed to the teeth when they were still called “Mujahedeen”, and installed them in power in Afghanistan as recently as 1996, have routed the United States army. In 1996, in order to oust the secular Afghan government on the pretext that it was supported by the USSR (even though USSR troops had left five years previously), the US had installed the Taliban in government. What happened was five years after setting the Taliban up for Government, there were the 9/11 Twin Towers terror attacks, which led the USA to bomb the Taliban to smithereens, first aiming to flush out Bin Laden, who they blamed for the Twin Towers attacks, and then to oust the Taliban government, which they had set up in the first place, and which they did do within a matter of months. Even after the USA found Bin Laden, by then living in Pakistan, after they had gone in and assassinated him, they continued to wage war on the Taliban, which was by then an informal, mainly rural, constant insurgency. The US maintained this war and occupation for 20 years. The Taliban fought on, and have now, finally, routed the most powerful army in the world. They have done so largely with the armaments the US supplied to the puppet government, under Ghani, which collapsed well-nigh on the spot when the American puppeteer upped and left earlier this month.
The USA, supported by NATO and other Western countries, is right now scrambling in undignified haste out of Kabul in helicopters, just as it did in Saigon in 1975. The USA is leaving the fundamentalist Taliban in power once again, stronger than it was before the US began its war to oust it 20 years ago. It looks very much like 20 years of murderous imperialist bombing and hit-and-miss drone assassinations, all for nothing.
Trump had announced total withdrawal for May 2021. Biden maintained this policy, announcing his own exact date: before the 11 September 20th anniversary.
As the USA withdrew, the Taliban resistance simply took over, city by city, province by province. The US-trained and armed forces, just collapsed. The Taliban then just picked up all the arms the USA had supplied to its puppet regime soldiers over the course of 20 years, arms designed to fight the Taliban with. As the US-trained puppets in one province surrendered, the Taliban just took their weapons and pointed them against the next-door province’s US puppets, who in turn surrendered faster still until they got control over the entire country within a week. So, the Taliban were then knocking on the gates of Kabul, the capital, yesterday.
The Afghan people, who have suffered so much already under domination by the Taliban, then under the USA’s state of war and virtual occupation, are now once again under the rule of the dictatorial Taliban forces, once again armed with American hardware, but this time much more heavily armed with “second-hand” American hardware that they have seized as the USA withdrew.
The USA is rightly feeling humiliated just as it did in Saigon.
It has not even had the means to save most of its Afghan collaborators, informers and lackeys, who the Americans refer to by the euphemism of “interpreters” from the Taliban. The Taliban will see them as traitors who deserve death or a fate worse than death.
Afghanistan’s people have suffered inordinately. The British were constantly waging war against them from1839 to 1919. When the Afghan people got rid of the British, they were one of the first countries to recognize the new Soviet state after the revolution. The special relationship with Russia that Afghanistan had was a constant thorn in the side of the West. So, when there was a USSR invasion in 1979, the USA began to finance and arm the Mujahedeen that would morph into the Taliban, and although the USSR withdrew in 1989, the US still pushed the Taliban into power. Armed and supported by the USA, they took over in 1996 for six brutal years until the USA hounded them out at the end of 2001 as a part of US revenge for 9/11. Iraq suffered the other part of the revenge from 2003 onwards. And still suffers.
Mauritius was in the US War against Afghanistan
Mauritius, by not having kicked the US out of Diego Garcia, which is part of Chagos, has thus allowed B-52 bombers to go bomb Afghanistan, including whole families on their way to wedding parties. Such atrocities include the following, to give an idea of the trauma of this war, and of our responsibility in it:
- 2002: A US plane bombed a house full of wedding guests in Oruzgan region, killing at least 30 of them.
- 2008: The Haska Meyna wedding party airstrike was an attack by U.S. military forces on 6 July in which 47 Afghans were killed. The group was escorting a bride to the wedding ceremony in the groom's village in this region of Nangarhar Province.
- 2008: The Wech Baghtu wedding party airstrike refers to the killing of about 37 civilians, mostly women and children by a U.S airstrike on 3 November. The group was celebrating a wedding at a housing complex in the village of Wech Baghtu.
By 2013, The Nation had to run the headline, when yet another US bombardment killed six Afghans at yet another wedding party that, “The US has Bombed at Least Eight Wedding Parties”.
Imagine what life has been like for the families involved in these killings at wedding celebrations over a full 20 years? What has this war done to the ordinary social life of Afghan people? Imagine it. More recently, this continues:
- 2019: Helmund Province: 40 civilians attending a wedding party were killed by explosions and gunfire during a raid by U.S.-backed forces in Helmand province
We must participate to bring to an end all imperialist wars. This way the Afghan people can decide their own future for the first time in 200 years.