[Marxism] Afghanistan

Rakesh Bhandari bhandari at berkeley.edu
Sat Dec 5 20:17:20 MST 2009

It may well be true that the US presence in Afghanistan helps the
recruitment for the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan (the support by
the Pakistani army to the US efforts in Afghanistan may be backfiring as
well in that the hands of the fundamentalists are strengthened). It may
also be true that the tens of billions of dollars spent on the occupation
would be be better spent on development projects in the north of
Afghanistan, an agonizingly poor country after all. And surely the US
military strategy has been biased towards the security of its own troops
rather than the safety of innocent civilians (the majority of whom seemed
to have supported even Bush's overthrow of the Taliban), and that has
undermined the humanitarian nature of the intervention.

Yet what happens when the US pulls out (don't forget that Steve Coll and
Ahmed Rashid argue that the strict deadline will just encourage the
Taliban to lay low and recommence its offensive)? It's not clear to me
that the Taliban will not become implicated with foreign powers, take
power and create chaos and catastrophe in both Afghanistan and the already
increasingly Saudi-influenced Pakistan, resulting in a grave geopolitical
tension. The least of the problems may be the terrorist attacks against
the West staged from the region.  Should NATO look away? Perhaps. But I
would surely like to see much more informed commentary. Even Juan Cole has
not been that interesting.


ps. I am not going to revisit the question of the NATO bombardment of
Serbia; Chomsky may well be right that negotiations were short circuited
but I don't make much of Tariq Ali's  counterfactual that this NATO
'humanitarian' intervention was a necessary dress rehearsal for the
occupation of Iraq. Of course Russia got the last laugh as the world
scoffed at the Bush's criticism of its actions in Georgia as illegal.

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