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EDITORIAL: 16-30 November 2001

US, us and Afghanistan

As the US-UK war against the people of Afghanistan enters its second month, the end of the swift, surgical war to weed out terrorism from Afghanistan is no where in sight. Doubts are being raised even in the US against this unjust war which, in the name of punishing ‘terrorists,’ is vandalising a whole country which is already reeling under a three-year-long drought and the after-effects of a two-decades-long civil war which was induced by the same forces which are now mercilessly pounding a weak, poor and already devastated Third World country.

Although on the official level there is a worldwide deafening silence about this great injustice which is being perpetrated even before the world is offered the hard evidence which proves beyond doubt that Ben Laden and his Afghan hosts are really the culprits while there are strong doubts about the source of the terror that struck America on 11 September and later in the shape of the Anthrax scare. In the post-11 September scenario, where America gave countries the simple choice of ‘us or them,’ governments are extra-cautious not to offer the world bully any excuse to place them on its arbitrary list of states sponsoring terrorism. Already there are indications that the US will use this opportunity to finish off all pockets of resistance to its new found status as the world’s only superpower. All dissenting voices are sought to be silenced for many decades to come.

Great, historical injustice is being perpetrated against Afghanistan although there is credible evidence to believe that the terrorist acts in question were made-in-America by official or anarchist outfits and that the attack on Afghanistan was already planned for altogether different reasons: control over Central Asia. The vast oil and natural gas resources of the erstwhile Soviet satellite states in Central Asia can be exploited through three land routes: via Russia or Iran or Afghanistan. The first two are too strong to let America and its allies manipulate their territories for the kind of pipeline and facilities which are necessary on the long-run for exploiting those resources. This left the hapless and devastated Afghanistan. But even Afghanistan is proving that it won’t be a cake-walk for the US and its western allies. The land war will be decisive and it remains to be seen if the pampered western soldier can take the beating. We have earlier seen them flee in disgrace from Saigon, Beirut and Mogadishu. But, like all arrogant people, their memories are short. There is no reason to believe that Kabul will be any different. No people should be viewed away from their centuries-old history and culture. The Afghan people do not have million-dollar rockets which are targeting ten-dollar tents in Afghanistan but they do have the resolve, patience and wherewithal to resist a land invasion.

One great fall-out of the post-11 September events will be the marked restriction of human rights, including the right to free speech, peaceful dissent and travel. Governments around the world are seizing upon this opportunity to dump their problems into the ‘terrorism’ bin. Israel, for instance, is trying hard to prove that the struggle for freedom in Palestine and the age-old fight of the Palestinian people against military occupation and settler-colonialism is ‘terrorism.’ India is trying to sell the idea that there is no problem in Kashmir except ‘cross border terrorism’. True, there is Pakistan encouragement for the on-going violence in Kashmir but, largely, it is the result of decades-long follies and mismanagement of our own central and state governments vis-à-vis Kashmir and the solemn promises offered at home and abroad. If Kashmir is atoot ang, what India is always ready to talk about with Pakistan within the framework of Shimla? If there is amnesia in BJP-led Indian administration, the world at large and the newfound American ‘natural ally’ does not suffer from such disease and cannot be expected to solve Delhi’s problems now or ever. You have to solve your problems yourself. In fact, Delhi is making things difficult for itself by supporting the current unjust war against Afghanistan since this bad precedent may be used one day against us and other Third World countries. Nothing is unimaginable in the post-11 September world. State terrorism against countries, groups and individuals will be the hallmark of this new era.

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