Imperialists under fierce attack in Afghanistan

Problems mount for the imperialist occupation of Afghanistan. A US Congressional Committee reported, ‘There is no security in Afghanistan. The central government’s grip does not extend much beyond the environs of Kabul. In the provinces there is no functioning local government.’ Violent incidents in the country are up 30% compared with last year, now averaging 550 every month. According to the US Council on Foreign Relations, 5,100 people were killed in the country in the first nine months of this year, 50% up on the same period of 2006. According to The Guardian, ‘The possibility of military failure, previously unthinkable, is now openly discussed.’

Members of the British army admit it has experienced its most intense fighting since the Korean War. Major John Godfrey said, ‘In an age when a modern army depends so heavily on technology, the Taliban could (and have) re-taught us many of the basic principles of soldiering. As a rule the Taliban are skilled and determined fighters. Their use of the ground, camouflage and concealment is quite simply outstanding.’ The imperialists use the term ‘Taliban’ as a pejorative catch-all for everyone involved in the resistance. As General Dannatt, head of the British army, stated, this was a lazy tendency. He explained ‘the great majority of the people we are engaged against are those who are fighting with the Taliban for financial, social and tribal reasons’.

NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop admits that the force in Afghanistan has only 90% of the troops needed and there is a shortage of helicopters. In October, Gordon Brown again appealed for NATO members to commit more combat troops. Although several of the smaller nations have agreed to send small contingents and France and Germany have agreed to send military instructors, none of these will be going to the south of Afghanistan where the core of the fighting takes place. At the same time the Netherlands government is under public pressure to withdraw its 1,600 troops and the Canadian government, with the third largest contingent of combat troops, is reconsidering its position.

Jim Craven

FRFI 200 December 2007 / January 2008