Blog Archive

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Afghanistan: Common Ignorance and Misconceptions.

This is the first time Britain has been involved in a war in Afghanistan - Wrong.

The current war in Afghanistan is actually just one of four wars that Britain has instigated there:
1842 - Britain lost.
1880 - Britain lost.
1919 - Britain lost.

Afghan women now experience greater freedom, equality and more rights than ever before - Wrong.

By the late 1980s half of all university students in communist Afghanistan were women, and women made up 40 percent of the country’s doctors, 70 percent of its teachers, and 30 percent of its civil servants. Afghan woman, Saira Noorani, a female surgeon who escaped the Taliban in 2001, described her experience as such: “Every girl could go to high school and university. We could go where we wanted and wear what we liked. We used to go to cafes and the cinema to see the latest Indian movies. It all started to go wrong when the Mujahideen started winning. They used to kill teachers and burn schools. It was sad to think that these were the people the West had supported.”

The Mujahideen (later to become the Taliban) arose as a response to the hostile invasion by the Soviet Union - Wrong.

The Mujahideen did not arise in response to a hostile Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, but rather the Soviet Union intervened at the request of the Afghan government in response to the instability being wrought by a US funded and armed insurgency. An initial $500 million was allocated by the USA, money used to arm and train the rebels in the art of insurgency in secret camps set up specifically for the task across the border in Pakistan. And so began a campaign of murder and terror which started 6 months prior to the Soviet intervention. One of the reasons why the USSR invaded Afghanistan incidentally was to combat terrorists, like US funded Osama Bin Laden.

There is no oil in Afghanistan so the war can have nothing to do with oil - Wrong.

The collapse of the Soviet Union meant that the huge deposits of crude oil located in the Caspian Basin were now up for grabs. What US and Western energy corporations required was a pipeline to transport this crude to the nearest friendly port from where it could be shipped out. Iran wasn’t an option, which left Afghanistan as the only viable alternative; with the proposed pipeline to pass through and on into Pakistan to the port of Karachi on the coast of the Arabian Sea. There still is no such pipeline, yet.

The Taliban have never been to Disneyworld - Wrong.

In 1996 not only did the Taliban go to Disneyworld, Florida, they were invited. Despite ruling a country in which women were stoned to death for adultery, in which men were tortured and had their limbs amputated for misdemeanour crimes, in which music and television was banned, in which it was illegal for girls to attend school, high-ranking representatives of the Taliban were given the red-carpet treatment, put up in a five-star hotel and even accorded a VIP visit to Disneyworld. The purpose of the trip was to discuss the construction of a pipeline with US oil companies in the state of Texas where the governor at the time was none other than future president George W. Bush. After they left it was felt that they could not be trusted (whether they is the US or the Taliban I feel matters little) and the plan for the pipeline was shelved.

The Taliban is now less popular than ever among Afghans - Wrong.

The opposite may well be true. It is important to remember that prior to the latest invasion in 2001 the Taliban was far from a secure government, it was after all fighting a civil war at the time. Indeed it is not a too great a stretch to say millions of pounds a day of UK Exchequer spending has succeeded in rescuing the Taliban from their death bed and turning them into the de facto national liberation movement in Afghanistan.

This should be read alongside this article by Socialist Unity.

Also check out this Anti-War Coalition video:

Oh and this transcript from a commons defence debate last week:

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