Britain wants to occupy Afghanistan for ‘decades’

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SIR SHERARD Cowper-Coles, the high-flying diplomat who is Ambassador in Afghanistan, told BBC Radio 4 yesterday that British forces would have to stay in the country ‘for a very long time’. He said the government ‘should be thinking in terms of decades’.

Cowper-Coles claimed that Afghans wanted the imperialists, including Britain, to carry out ‘the task of standing up a government of Afghanistan’ and ‘the job of standing up the police, standing up the security forces, standing up the judicial system, putting schools and hospitals in place’.

The British Ambassador was speaking five-and-a-half years after the imperialist invasion of Afghanistan, led by the United States, and the subsequent years of occupation by imperialist armies, mustered under the flag of the United Nations.

The British government has expanded the Embassy in Kabul enormously since January, when 35 extra diplomatic staff were earmarked for Afghanistan and there are 7,700 British troops in the country.

This is not a sign of strength, but of weakness.

More than 60 British troops have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001, with the fatalities mounting more rapidly over the past few months.

There are reports coming out of Afghanistan continually that the British forces do not have enough patrol vehicles or equipment for the operations they are ordered to carry out, making them targets for Afghan resistance fighters.

With billions of dollars of so-called ‘aid’ flooding into the country, the puppet government of President Hamid Karzai is notoriously corrupt with politicians, state officials and the police siphoning off millions.

In the Parliament the strongest group is made up of warlords, former members of the mujahideen, who kill their political opponents rather than debate with them and fund their militias with foreign aid, or drugs money.

These are the so-called successes of the ‘task of standing up a government in Afghanistan’ and ‘standing up the security forces’ since 2001, that is setting up a puppet regime that can rule on behalf of imperialism.

Alongside this, far from being defeated, the Afghan national resistance movement, the Taleban, are gaining in strength.

The latest evidence of this was seen earlier this week when Karzai’s Afghan puppet forces fled from Myanishen district, in Kandahar province, southern Iraq, driven out by Taleban fighters, who took over in that district.

The radio interview with Cowper-Cowles was either inept propaganda for consumption by people in Britain, or self-delusion.

The latter is characteristic of the thinking of the British imperialists in their dealings with the people of Afghanistan.

Thousands of British troops have died there over the past 200 years. Most famously, in 1842, a huge Anglo-Indian force of 16,500 men, under the command of Lord Auckland, was massacred while on a forced march retreating from Kabul.

With the death toll of UN ground forces mounting week by week, the US is resorting to bombing and rocket attacks by warplanes, killing whole families, men, women and children.

This bloodbath inflicted on the Afghan people must be stopped!

The Taleban are doing their part to achieve this, following in the footsteps of their ancestors, they are fighting determinedly to drive the imperialist occupation forces out of Afghanistan.

This is the time for the workers, in the US, Britain and the other European countries that have military forces in Afghanistan, to take mass political and industrial action to ensure that foreign troops are immediately withdrawn.

In Britain, the way to achieve this is for the working class, organised in powerful trade unions, to take mass strike action to kick out the warmongering government of Blair and Brown and replace it with a workers’ government that will withdraw British imperialist forces from other countries.