French troops pay price for Sarkozy opportunism

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TEN French soldiers were killed in an ambush by Taleban fighters east of the Afghan capital, Kabul, and 21 were wounded yesterday.

This followed Sarkozy’s opportunist decision to curry favour with the US regime by sending more French troops to Afghanistan.

The French recently took over control of the Kabul regional command which includes Sirobi where the ambush took place.

Sarkozy immediately rushed to Afghanistan, while in France the public estimation of his capacities sank even lower, since all former French governments opposed participation in NATO military operations.

His failed opportunism is now set to rebound on him at home, where two thirds of the French electorate are opposed to any French involvement in what is seen as a failed US-UK imperialist war.

Sarkozy issued a statement saying that ‘Serious measures, notably in the air, were taken to support and extricate our men caught in an extremely violent ambush.’

This is the standard formula whereby a Taleban ambush evokes a massive air attack to rescue those that have been ambushed, at the cost of massive civilian casualties.

As yet there is no knowledge of the number of civilians that were caught up and killed in the air attack to extricate the surrounded French soldiers.

At the same time, a US-manned strong point in Khost province was also under heavy attack with suicide bombers attempting to blast their way through its defences so that the entire US garrison at Camp Salerno could be slaughtered.

The reality in Afghanistan is that the casualties of the imperialist forces are starting to mount rapidly, as the Taleban’s armed forces get into their summer offensive stride, with the aim of demoralising and then defeating the imperialist forces.

The war in Afghanistan is clearly widening and is set to suck in larger numbers of NATO solders including the entire complement of the UK’s SAS and Special Boat Service forces.

NATO is getting its fingers badly burnt in Afghanistan, and the NATO debacle in Georgia can only win the Taleban more friends and make the going in Afghanistan much tougher.

After the failure of the US-inspired attack on South Ossetia, NATO has been unable to show a united front to Russia when, as expected, the allies of the US pointedly refused to follow even the petty anti-Russian measures advocated by Secretary of State Rice at the NATO summit.

All that the NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer could say was that no co-operative programmes had been axed yet ‘but this issue will have to be taken into view’.

Meanwhile the shock waves from the defeat have spread all over the region, including into the Ukraine, which supplied many of the tanks and missiles that were used to attack South Ossetia, and are now in the hands of the Russian army.

After the failed attack, the Ukrainian government said it would bar the Russian fleet from Sevastopol, and allow the Western powers to use its radar and space missile defences.

The Ukrainian government has however split under the pressure of the seismic change that has taken place with the two leaders of the Orange Revolution, President Yushchenko and Prime Minister Tymoshenko, at each others throats.

Tymoshenko has been accused of being a Russian agent and accepting a massive bribe from Russia because she has refused to join in the anti-Russian propaganda campaign. Her reward for this silence is her alleged Russian support to become the next President of the Ukraine.

The falling out of the Orange counter-revolutionaries provides the Ukrainian working class with a great opportunity.

It is obvious that the world capitalist crisis, and the defeat that imperialism has suffered in Georgia, has weakened capitalism all over the world.

British workers must now take the lead to demand industrial and political trade union action to force a complete withdrawal of British troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

They must also demand of the US and the UK: Hands off Russia! – and insist that Russia was correct in intervening to end the attempt to ethnically cleanse the South Ossetians.

In fact, capitalism and imperialism has had its day and now is the time to drive the world socialist revolution forward to its victory.