Afghanistan: a new phase of the war

Submitted by AWL on 20 April, 2021 - 5:10 Author: Gerry Bates
US troops in Afghanistan

On 14 April, Joe Biden said that US troops would quit Afghanistan by 11 September, five months later than the deadline earlier set by Donald Trump. British and other NATO forces have said they will withdraw too.

War has gone on since the US helped the Northern Alliance push out the Taliban in 2001, and the series of wars with no real break since Afghanistan’s Stalinist PDPA seized power in 1978 and sparked a rural uprising which in turn pushed the USSR into invading and trying to gain control in 1979. Next: a new phase of war. The Taliban will be able to extend its areas of control. The Kabul government may be able to hold territory for some time, since it has an army of 180,000 and the USA will continue to back it with surveillance drones and air strikes.

Solidarity has for many years supported US withdrawal from Afghanistan. It will not be liberation. The removal of the remaining US troops on the ground, only 3,500 of them, is not an ending of colonial or semi-colonial supremacy.

Rather, it has become increasingly clear the longer the US stayed, the worse the prospects for after its withdrawal, inevitable some day, would become. Only a working-class and democratic upheaval in Pakistan, cutting off the Taliban from its nurturing hinterland, opening the prospect of democratic change in Afghanistan, could change that calculus.

Our task remains: solidarity with Afghanistan’s democrats and workers, which implies also siding with the cities, corrupt though their rule is, against the Taliban.

• More: Solidarity 576

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