No more war in Afghanistan!

October 7 will mark the tenth anniversary of the war in Afghanistan. There will be protests in a number of cities throughout the US.

Ten years ago Bush used the 9-11 terrorist atrocity as the excuse for stepping up U.S. militarism in the name of a “war on terror.” In this, he was fully supported by the Democrats. Their first act was to invade weak Afghanistan on October 7, not just to exact bloody revenge on al Qaeda, but to also violently overthrow the Afghan government and replace it with their “own.”  While they’d previously cared little about Afghanistan, now, deluded about their military power, they sought to dominate it as part of their geo-strategic maneuvering with Russia, China, Iran and others for domination in a region that includes oil-rich Central Asia. This was naked imperialism. And thus began a war between two reactionary forces: the Western imperialist invaders, and the fundamentalist forces of Taliban and Al Qaeda.

The U.S. and its allies militarily imposed a government of brutal Northern Alliance fundamentalists, warlords, drug lords, and other thieves upon the Afghan people. Even Washington now complains that it’s corrupt. But this doesn’t stop the perfumed politicians and generals from sending U.S. soldiers to fight and die for it anyway. Meanwhile, for the Afghan people these have been ten years of surviving the terrors of being bombed and strafed from the skies, seeing their sons being hauled off never to be seen again, and being subjected to sadistic torture, “trophy”-taking and other outrages at the hands of the U.S. and other occupiers. Tens of thousands of their fellow citizens have died at the hands of the foreign invaders as well as the fundamentalist Taliban, and the first half of this year was the deadliest six months for Afghan civilians since the war was launched!

Now, confronted with mounting opposition in Afghanistan and the United States, and huge budget deficits, Obama plans to prolong this imperialist criminality using fewer troops.

Obama tries to put a good face on U.S. defeats

Bush left office with just over 32,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and Obama “surged” this to nearly 100,000 troops. The predictable result was that the deaths of innocent Afghans skyrocketed, as did the deaths of Taliban fighters and U.S. soldiers. (In fact, there have been 1,093 U.S. deaths in Afghanistan under Obama in less than three years vs. 575 under Bush in more than seven years.) But the Taliban only adapted its tactics by moving to other parts of the country as well as resorting to high-profile assassinations and bombings, including right in the capital, Kabul. More, after nearly ten years of fighting in one of the world’s poorest countries, the world’s most sophisticated and expensive killing machine just suffered its highest death toll yet in August.

Meanwhile, the just hatred of the everyday Afghans for the foreign invaders has only increased, and they’ve again and again mounted protests against U.S.-NATO atrocities and occupation, often sacrificing their blood in doing so. Their opposition is so great that President Karzai himself repeatedly denounces U.S. night raids and other atrocities. Moreover, in the midst of this growing mass opposition nearly 25,000 soldiers have deserted the Afghan army in the past six months, which is more than double the desertions for the same period last year.

And if there’s anything that shows that the “mighty” U.S. government is being defeated it’s the present bargaining with the “mortal enemy” Taliban over what share of governmental power it will have in post-war Afghanistan.

So in the context of his failed escalation, on June 22 Obama told the lies “We are starting this draw-down from a position of strength” and “are meeting our goals” in announcing a glacial retreat from Afghanistan: 10,000 troops to be pulled out by the end of this year, 23,000 more by the end of next summer, and 31,000 more by the end of 2014 — which would still leave some 35,000 U.S. troops in the country.  He also said that “the tide of war is receding,” something he should tell the families of the Afghans subsequently killed, as well as the families of the 66 U.S. soldiers killed in August. And Obama said that “the light of a secure peace can be seen in the distance,” when the only peace he sees would be a rotten, militarily-imposed grand alliance between the murderous Northern Alliance and Taliban to rule over the Afghan people.

This is a coldly calculated plan under which Afghanistan will remain a U.S. killing field, and still more sons and daughters of the American working class and poor will be sent to die so that the U.S. imperialists can somehow salvage a propaganda victory and save face. World bullies that they are, the imperialists dare not reveal weakness. Also, it can be recalled that the Soviet imperialists followed a 1986 Afghanistan “surge” with a two stage 1988-99 withdrawal meant to save face, while they continued to give major military and economic assistance to the regime they left behind (which is what the U.S.-NATO also plans to do). But in two-plus years that regime collapsed anyway. Obama and his advisers gamble with the lives and treasure of the working people of America and Afghanistan hoping that this time will be different.

Solidarity with the Afghan people!

Secular and democratic Afghan activists have long said to western anti-war activists that the withdrawal of one enemy, the U.S.-NATO occupation forces, would make it easier for them to fight against their internal warlord and fundamentalist enemies: both government and Taliban. This is a hard struggle in a country where nearly 80% of the people are scattered in the countryside, where illiteracy is high and oppression brutal. (Additionally, the U.N. reports that seven million Afghans are currently experiencing food shortages due to drought, and that the number is likely to rise in the fall.) But there are some signs of hope, because the masses of Afghans are fed up with the U.S.-installed corruptocrats as well as the Taliban—which ruled over them for seven years and now inflicts “collateral damage” on them daily. Instead of being treated like dogs by the Karzai mafia and Taliban they want progress . . . and they look to the anti-war movements in the West to help rid them of the U.S.-NATO occupiers. It’s our duty to come to their assistance.

Fight the enemy at home

For ten years war contractors of all kinds have fattened their profits as the entire ruling class lusted for the wealth that expanding its empire would give it. But some 1670 mainly working-class sons and daughters have died for this rotten cause in Afghanistan, with many more thousands physically or emotionally maimed for life. Meanwhile, in the name of budget crisis, the politicians of both parties are viciously fleecing the workers and poor — with national minorities, women, the elderly and youth specially targeted, while they hand $trillions to the financial swindlers and Pentagon. Global warming accelerates, but the politicians of both parties do worse than nothing, e.g., they fight for more extraction of fossil fuels and more nukes. And to defend themselves from mass rebellion against these outrages, Obama has stepped up Bush’s government secrecy, and the building of an American police state upon which $80 billion was spent for spying just last year.

But this bipartisan program of war, impoverishing the people, and political reaction is causing mass anger, with increasing numbers of people learning the great lesson that both the Republicans or Democrats fight for the interests of the capitalist class, the rich, at home and abroad. History will not move forward as a result of voting for either party. The motor of history is mass struggle -- protests, street demonstrations, strikes, and rebellions – and the building of political organization that really stands on the side of the class struggle! Mass struggle and the building of militant organization are the weapons that brought the progressive changes of the 1930s and 1960s in the U.S. And the Arab spring uprisings that have now toppled three long-entrenched tyrants are again showing the power of mass action.

After ten years of bloody wars we say that the American working class has more in common with the workers and farmers of Afghanistan than it does with the bankers, CEOs, politicians, and generals who rule this country. Let us express solidarity with our Afghan, Pakistani, and other sisters and brothers living under the guns and drone attacks of our ruling class by demonstrating October 7. Let us target imperialism as the common enemy of workers and oppressed people everywhere.

U.S. imperialists, get out of Afghanistan now!

(Adapted from a leaflet of the Seattle Anti-Imperialist Committee -- -- calling on people to agitate for, and take part in, the demonstration on October 7 in Seattle against the Afghan war.)

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Last changed on November 15, 2011.