THE debacle of the rigged Afghan elections, held under the guns of the NATO forces in Afghanistan, is just a reflection of an even greater debacle – the Anglo-US invasion of Afghanistan, which is, after eight years of war, facing defeat and humiliation.
The ‘enlightened’ attitude of democrats such as the Liberal Party’s Paddy Ashdown to the Afghan elections is to say that a rigged government is better than no government at all.
This is where the Bush adventure to bring democracy to the peoples has ended up – in the gutter, while high government officials rig elections in order to continue making their fortunes from the poppy fields that have flourished under NATO, and running heroin into Europe.
The rot has reached the core when the leading generals in charge of the operation have to put a brave face on admitting that they have only a very limited amount of time left to fend off a historic defeat.
Major General Nick Carter, who will take charge of 45,000 troops in six weeks time in Helmand, has said that without the ‘luxury’ of time, forces needed to show ‘positive trends’ as quickly as possible.
With 160,000 NATO troops in the country the general called for a retreat, saying: ‘We can’t be everywhere. We need to focus on achievable objectives’, implying that the current objectives are unfeasible.
He advocated leaving the open spaces of the countryside and the mountains to the Taleban and concentrating in the cities providing ‘security where we know the population is living, freedom of movement on the key highways . . .’
This means allowing the Taleban to control the countryside, like the days of the Soviet adventure in Afghanistan when there was a Stalinist government in Kabul and one or two other cities and the Mujahideen in control everywhere else.
Major General Carter’s call for consolidation comes a day after the new chief of the British army, General Sir David Richards, said the failure of a coalition of such powerful Western nations would show terrorists that ‘anything might be possible’.
When asked if he would talk to moderate Taleban fighters, he said ‘counter insurgencies are about winning an argument’ and that ‘if we can talk to people then that may well be a quicker solution than shooting them’.
In fact, what is taking place in Afghanistan is not an insurgency. The Taleban were the internationally-recognised government of Afghanistan, which was overthrown in the post-September 11th rush to find and kill Osama bin Laden.
They have a widespread base of support in the country, which will not fall for Nato gold or for pledges that they will be allowed to form a coalition government with Karzai or some other puppet.
In fact, the position of the Taleban is that they will not talk about government before all foreign troops are out of Afghanistan.
The Taleban attacks, in recent days on the previously tolerated German and Italian Nato forces show that this is the case.
Lt General Sir Graeme Lamb, who is in charge of the ‘reconciliation programme’ and the expert on counter-insurgency, has been broadcasting his recipe for success in recent days.
He said the ‘vast majority’ of the Taleban were ‘guns for hire’. He added an even bigger insult to the honour of the Taleban by stating ‘you can buy an insurgency if you have enough money’.
So the message has become: retire to the cities and buy the Taleban – then everything will be OK.
British workers whose living standards are being slashed by the capitalist crisis have no time for the imperialist adventure in Afghanistan.
As the generals become more and more desperate in their propaganda and in their demands, more and more workers oppose the war.
The trade unions must take action to stop the war in Afghanistan. They must hold demonstrations and political strikes to demand that all British troops are withdrawn at once.