After 43 years of foreign intervention and war in Afghanistan, including 20 years of U.S. imperialist occupation, the U.S. – backed puppet government has collapsed in a handful of days and the Taliban have once again regained control of the country.
Let us remind ourselves that the reactionary Taliban forces were a creation of U.S. imperialism and their vicious extremist practices were no more than what was taught across Afghanistan and Pakistan in U.S. and Saudi- backed madrissas.
The cost of the U.S. war on Afghanistan was borne by the people of Afghanistan, the U.S. and the world. More than 47,245 Afghan civilians, 66,000 Afghan national military and police, 51,191 members of Taliban and other opposition groups, 2,448 U.S. military personnel, 3,846 U.S. contractors, 1,144 service members from allied countries, 444 aid workers, and 72 journalists were killed during the war. Approximately half the victims of the war were women.
The U.S. spent more than 2 trillion dollars in the war. A major part of the rhetoric used to justify its human rights abuses and high civilian casualties was that “the fight against terrorism is also a fight for the rights and dignity of women.” This has been the facade of U.S. imperialism much spouted by liberal voices across the world. The progressive revolution in Afghanistan that started in the 1970s took measures to liberate women and challenge centuries of feudal practices.
Such revolutionary measures included: ending “bride-price” practices, allowing women to make marriage choices, to choose to wear or not to wear the veil, to travel in public, to get an education, and to be employed. Women were trained to work in the medical field, in judiciary, and among other fields. These measures were inclusive for women across all classes. Brigades of women and other young Afghans brought medical care to rural peasants. It is widely accepted that Afghan women were the strongest supporters of the 1978 revolution and were a decisive force for its initial success.
It was this revolutionary change and perspective in Afghan society that was lost after 43 years of imperialist domination in the country, allowing again for a repressive and regressive puppet force in command. The women of Afghanistan have neither gained liberation under the U.S. occupation nor under the Taliban – as made evident when the U.S.-backed puppet government under Karzai legalized marital rape.
We have learned much from this coercive U.S. war of aggression. Once again, the resolve of the people of Afghanistan has toppled the greatest global superpower in history. It is not only the Taliban that are against the U.S. occupation and puppet government; the people have been living with war for 43 years, with the last 20 years under direct occupation of foreign U.S. troops. Imperialism can never defeat people’s struggle, their demand for self-reliance and self-determination, especially when the women assert their rights and demand that their voices be heard. Today, as U.S. troops and government personnel withdraw and the Taliban continues to seize control across the country, we also acknowledge that the journey for the Afghan people will be a long one. Reports circulating this week report that Afghanistan, while being a country with high rates of poverty and illiteracy, has natural resources valued at $1 trillion. These natural resources include lithium, copper, silver and more precious metals which are of critical importance to the economic development of Imperialist vampires who deplete their colonies and semi-colonies in order to increase economic and political control. The International Women’s Alliance is fully opposed to any foreign plunder of these resources as these and full economic control over Afghanistan rightly belong to the Afghani people.
We know the Afghan people will be faced with new challenges, since the Taliban’s swift assertion to power. We must continue to denounce any attempt for U.S. imperialism or other global powers to impose its control in the region, whose only interest is not about bringing about democracy and liberation for their people, but about geopolitical control and corporate interests.
The Biden administration announced freezing Afghan government reserves held in U.S. bank accounts, blocking the Taliban from accessing billions of dollars held in U.S. institutions. Afghanistan is already considered one of the poorest countries in the world, along with having the 3rd largest displaced population, totaling over 6 million, majority women and children. Cutting off access to aid and other imposed sanctions will have detrimental impacts to deliver international humanitarian assistance and result in worsening hunger and economic crisis, amidst the ongoing global pandemic.
Despite the rhetoric touted by conservatives and liberals, the war in Afghanistan has never been about the liberation of women, not even as a “collateral benefit”, but about imperialist domination for capitalist profit. The true and only path to liberating Afghanistan and the full emancipation of Afghan women lies in the strength and power of the Afghan people, resisting and uniting against imperialism.
Solidarity with the people of Afghanistan! Down with US Imperialism in Afghanistan! Liberation for all Afghan Women! Long Live International Solidarity!