End Evil

Remember Afghanistan?

Fighting is growing in intensity in southern Afghanistan, and US forces have engaged resurgent Taliban forces in the Pashtun heartlands two years after they were supposed to have been defeated. Meanwhile, the struggle for power in the north is between three main groups, all financed and supported by the Americans.

The Bush administration launched a "war on international terror" but does not consider the brutality of these warlords towards other Afghans to be a problem. The Americans encouraged the leaders of the Northern Alliance to resume their old positions. The only reason that the warlords have any power is because the US carpet bombed Taliban positions, allowing the equally "unfit to rule" warlords to step into the void. The U.S has tried to imply that they have earned the right to power, despite being guilty of similar human rights abuses as the Taliban. Clearly, the main difference between the Taliban and the warlords who have replaced them is US support.

The U.S has ignored the request of President Hamid Karzai, to deploy an international peace-keeping force outside Kabul to disarm the warlords until very recently, and only Germany has actually dispatched any troops (450 troops to one of the least problematic areas in the north).

The Americans and British have employed their own soldiers as "provincial reconstruction teams" to prevent new land-grabs. However, the team is small, and there are no plans to decommission any confiscated weapons. They also asked the warlord´s permission for 300 Kabul police to come into the city arguing that this approach is more productive than a heavily armed and naturally belligerent country than confronting the warlords directly (this is the same country that the US and Britain was happy to carpet bomb only a couple of years ago). Since the cease fire, no attempt has been made to deal with the problems left by the invading armies.

Now, full scale war seems likely in southern Afghanistan, and international aid agencies are increasingly concerned about the safety of their personnel (who have been directly targeted). The larger NGOs worked under the Mujahedin and Taliban regimes and have earned trust and respect from Afghans, and they cannot afford to be seen as agents of the military or the trust will be lost, and attacks will increase.

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have already distorted many western governments´ spending priorities, making "reconstruction" a political exercise designed to satisfy Washington rather than an impartially assessed response to need. Choosing aid projects in collaboration with the military takes the distortion a dangerous stage further.

The daily reality for Afghanistan is continued conflict, poverty and hopelessness. Afghanistan has the unfortunate habit of hosting wars which are really all about foreign powers and not much to do with the Afghan people themselves, and at the end of each war they are erased from the media spotlight to continue suffering in silence. For all the rhetoric about improving lives it seems most Afghans are just as badly off as they have been for the past three decades.

Update on the situation in Afghanistan

Return to Top