What’s the story with Afghanistan?


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There is a lot of conflicting information about Afghanistan but, as Curtis Daly explains, to understand the current situation we need to understand decades of interventionist policies and the ideological and corporate interests behind them.

Video transcript

In 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in order to prop up the existing government. However, the Soviets were met with huge backlash from resistant fighters known as the mujahidin.

The mujahidin were supported by the US as essentially a proxy war against the USSR. The mujahidin were religious fundamentalists, it’s not known whether the US knew that or not, or even if they cared.

The Soviet Union disintegrated and therefore backed out, leaving the Afghan troops taking their place. They were fully responsible for fighting against rebels, who were backed by the US.

Both the Russians and the US cut their funding to their respective proxy armies. However, this meant that the current Afghan government grew weak and were eventually overthrown. The country was amid a bloody civil war and destabilisation.

This set the stage for the Taliban. The Taliban who are also known as ‘the students’ came from Islamist extremist fighters in Pakistan and Afghanistan who fought the Soviets.

Read on…

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By 1996, the Taliban essentially had full control, pushing religious fundamentalism on its people.

After 9/11, the US invades and bombs Afghanistan. This leads to a 20-year long occupancy. 

The idea here is to realise that what happened in the last couple of days isn’t just down to Biden. Everything we see unfolding is the result of yet another US and imperial interventionist catastrophe.

It only took 10 days for the Taliban to reassert control.

Will our governments learn from these mistakes? No, just like we haven’t learned from the war in Iraq. Why? Because there is a winner – the Military Industrial Complex.

What is the Military Industrial Complex? To understand it, you need to know first and foremost that when it comes to war, there are winners.

Not winners in terms of liberation and peace, but in terms of profit.

The human cost of war is never-ending, and ordinary people always lose. Large corporations, defence contractors, always win. It doesn’t matter who’s fighting, it doesn’t matter which side wins, there is always a customer for more weapons.

That customer is the US. One thing the US loves is a big, bloated military. Austerity never touches it.

In-fact, the military budget is so large that it’s bigger than China, India, Russia, UK, Saudi Arabia, Germany, France, Japan, South Korea, Italy, and Australia….. combined.

Let’s not let the UK off the hook either. We are still the second biggest arms exporter, totalling £11bn worth.

Specifically with Afghanistan, £45m worth have been approved in the last three years, with 16 unlimited value licenses.

Arms suppliers essentially have a bottomless pit of profit. This in turn is then spent on lobbying politicians to vote in favour of contracts that benefit these companies, and war that also benefits them. A vicious cycle of war and profit… and human suffering.

We have an ultimate duty to offer sanctuary for those who face danger.

That video of the US aircraft leaving with hundreds running after it, with some falling to their deaths, will haunt me.

I don’t care what those say that we shouldn’t take in refugees, ignore them.

There is no humanity when it comes to war, and it’s up to us to show it. Refugees are welcome here, arms companies are not.

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