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Defeat of U.S. colonialism in Afghanistan shows how a determined people can win
Jeshan, the National Independence Day is celebrated as the biggest eventerform at Jeshan Festival in Kabul 1962. PHOTO: "INDEPENDENCE DAY - AFGHANISTAN" BY UNITED NATIONS PHOTO IS LICENSED WITH CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
The following article is excerpted from a presentation delivered by African Socialist International Secretary General Luwezi Kinshasa during a September 7, 2021 live forum broadcast on The Burning Spear TV channel on YouTube.
This is an important development for everyone who comes from the colonized populations of this planet.
We all have seen the images on television and social media. We've seen imperialists saying they couldn't understand why it was so sudden that the Afghan government collapsed.
They are lying. The informed people knew that the Afghan government was going to collapse.
Although they couldn't say how many weeks or months, they knew they didn't have anything to stand on.
People are confused because we are told that the Taliban are backward. They want to bring Afghanistan back to the Middle Ages.
But this doesn't satisfy anyone who has a basic sense of curiosity about why these so-called backward people were able to defeat not just one army, but a coalition of the western parasitic capitalist armies.
The U.S. didn't go there alone. It went there with all its partners in crime in NATO.
They spent trillions of dollars. The British spent over 40 billion. Germany spent billions.
The French also spent billions, and yet all of them were defeated.
Not only were they defeated, but it was a resounding defeat.
Now, the basic question is why the Taliban won?
A long history of resistance
We must go back to the 19th century, a century of African resistance. The biggest event that shook the 19th century was the successful African Revolution known as the Haitian Revolution which in 1804 defeated the French army, the British army and the Spanish army.
The African workers—because the colonized slaves were workers, essentially—defeated the colonizers' armies. That event shook the world.
All over the world, oppressed people inspired by the Haitian Revolution were willing to fight, and there's a connection between that fighting spirit and what Afghanistan did in 1839.
There were three wars between Afghanistan and the British imperialists. The first was between 1839 and 1842.
The British imperialist pretext was that the Russians were going to use Afghanistan as a stepping stone to come to India, where the British had one of their largest colonies since they lost the United States.
They had to stop the Russians from coming to Afghanistan, and the best way to do it was to replace whoever was there and put in somebody who was more pliable to British interest.
In 1842, the British army was defeated in a very humiliating way. According to the records, only one soldier survived, and some people say the Afghans allowed that single soldier to leave the war zone so he could take the bad news to the British troops back in India.
When he reached India, they asked him where the army is, and he said I am the army. He was the only one of 16,000 people. So that shook the British and the entire world.
The British went back to Afghanistan a few years later in 1878. Between 1878 and 1881, the British sent 40,000 troops from India, and this ended with a treaty that favored the British colonizers.
Then there was a third war in Afghanistan in 1919, and we all know that 1919 was also the time of the great African movement of Marcus Garvey.
It also was at the end of the so-called first world war between imperialists to redivide the world.
The Afghans struck the British troops, and it ended with a new treaty where the British recognized the right of Afghans to rule themselves.
These three events shaped the consciousness of the Afghans. They went against the British and pushed the British out.
U.S. funded Mujahideen to undermine Soviet Union
In 1979, the Soviet Union decided to go to Afghanistan to support the pro-Soviet Union regime that was in place.
The United States government under Jimmy Carter saw this as an opportunity to give the Soviet Union its Vietnam. The United States mobilized the Mujahideen–now called the Taliban–inside Afghanistan and throughout the Muslim world, particularly Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan for years.
It was really in the mid-80s that this movement inspired and funded by the U.S. began to have the upper hand. They got new weapons like the rocket-propelled grenades that you can fire at tanks and helicopters. They were very effective against the Soviet Union.
Also, the Soviet Union strategically put more Muslim people on the front line. They sent soldiers from countries like Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
They were Muslims, and many of them were reluctant to go to war with fellow Muslims.
There was also a loss of morale in the pro-soviet government of Afghanistan, similar to what we have seen recently in the war between the Taliban and the U.S.
Soldiers were deserting. An army that used to be strong with 100,000 troops in 1978 had less than 40,000 troops by the mid-80s.
In the meantime, the United States continued to pour into Mujahideen from all over the Muslim world.
The president of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, decided to pull the troops out, signed the treaty with all those forces which supported the Mujahideen and withdrew from Afghanistan.
This was in 1989, three years later, the Soviet Union collapsed.
I'm sure the fact that the Afghan people defeated the British and the fact that they succeeded in getting the Soviet Union out and the Soviet Union's subsequent collapse, played a big role in the psychology of the Afghan people.
I'm sure this played a role in the confidence of the people of Afghanistan today.
Every imperialist war is to maintain colonialism
We all heard the propaganda that the United States government and the NATO troops were going there to bring democracy and save the women.
You heard all this nonsense every day, but what they don't tell you is that every imperialist war is a war about resources and geostrategic objectives.
Every single war is to maintain white power colonialism, the foundation of this modern economy referred to as capitalism.
Afghanistan, in terms of minerals, is a rich place. They are rich in uranium. Uranium is a key mineral in producing nuclear energy and weapons.
They have copper. Copper is a key element to carry conductive electricity. It's in your radio and cell phone. It's in your house.
They have rare earth. China has a monopoly in terms of real earth, and that's a problem for the United States and for white power in general.
They have gold. They have zinc. They have a lot of minerals. So part of the war is to get control of these resources.
In terms of strategic value apart from the resources, there's the location of Afghanistan. Who are the neighbors of Afghanistan? Pakistan, China, Russia and Iran.
The United States is in a war of influence with China and Russia to control the world and with Iran in the region.
So, Afghanistan is of great significance, and the defeat of the United States is also of great significance.
Why the Taliban won
Now, people are trying to understand why the Taliban won. There are a few reasons.
The government that was overthrown in Afghanistan was a corrupt, incompetent government. The people hated to see all these officials coming from nowhere enriching themselves immensely.
Also, the people of Afghanistan hate foreign occupation. They remembered that they won against the British and that they won against the Soviet Union, and they remembered that the United States government can also be defeated.
Imperialists give us this propaganda that the Taliban is backward, but what they didn't tell you is that the Taliban has learned from its mistakes.
They came to power in 1992, and we all know they were bombed out of power by the United States after September 11, 2001. They learned from that, too.
So one, they are against corruption, and they took action against corrupted officials whenever opportunities arose. They wanted the people in Afghanistan to know that if the Taliban is in power, there will be no corruption, justice will be delivered and security will be delivered, too.
Also, every time the United States bombed the people of Afghanistan, they were recruiting people for the Taliban. All these civilians were killed by the United States and NATO troops, and that opened up the door for the Taliban to recruit people.
They also went after the collaborators of the occupiers, particularly those who were translators for the United States Army and those who worked for the NGOs.
They built their own government, their own institutions. Remember, the pro-United States, sell-out government in Kabul was nowhere in rural areas outside of the cities of Kabul and maybe Kandahar.
But the Taliban were on the ground in rural areas providing services. They allowed the economy to operate. They collected taxes.
They tell us that the Afghan people are tribal people. The Pashtun are like 40 percent of the population. What the Taliban did was extend their government and institutions to other non-Pashtun people.
So they built alliances across tribes and successfully consolidated power bases in the South and the East of Afghanistan.
That's where the United States and other invaders were concentrating the bombings, but while they were doing that, they opened new fronts in the Northern part of the country.
They were bold. They were not afraid to engage in a direct confrontation with the occupiers, and the occupiers were scared to leave their fortified bunkers.