Race to the finish in Afghanistan

Linked with Eric Walberg – Canada, and with Ahmed Rashid – Pakistan.

Published on Online Journal, by Eric Walberg, Jan 1, 2009.

The war in Afghanistan is spreading its tentacles around the world. The terrorist attacks in Mumbai are now being explained as a plot by Lashkar-e-Taiba to divert the Pakistani military away from the Afghan border areas, a replay of the attack on the Indian parliament in December 2001.

Ahmed Rashid, author of Taliban: The Story of the Afghan Warlords, says, “Nobody could touch the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, Afghans and others for the next four years” …

… “We hated the Russians but we knew they didn’t want to be there. The Afghan communists took power in 1978 and then the US flooded the country with weapons to fight them. I remember this well. The last communist leader, (Mohammad) Najibullah, was actually a good leader, but the US insisted on backing Bin Laden and the other terrorists against him. The US could solve the whole problem in a week if they wanted to. There is no Bin Laden now. Even though I don’t like them, the Taleban should be allowed to take power. They would be better than what my family in Kabul are living through now,” said Abdul.

The current US occupation of both Afghanistan and Iraq, the refusal to allow the Somali Taleban – the Islamic Courts and the Shabab – to come to power there, and the unremitting vilification of Syria and Iran can only be explained as the US trying to force the Muslim world into submission. It is no coincidence that these holdouts are the focus of US hostility.

This is all eerily familiar. In the 20th century, the communists were the enemy. The Cold War was the vehicle for keeping alive the enemy myth so necessary to holding together the imperial order. Communism was supposedly destroyed, with no positive effect for anyone, it turns out. But conventional wisdom still celebrates the “victory over Communism” at the same time as it exhorts us to hold firm against the new enemy, recalcitrant Islam, as embodied in Afghanistan’s resistance fighters … (full text).

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