US Secretary of State John Kerry has had to make an emergency trip to Afghanistan where the much vaunted democratic election has ended up with both party leaders, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, claiming victory. They are also each vowing not to accept the other as the head of government, to the extent of Abdullah Abdullah vowing to set up a parallel government.
The Taleban must be laughing at the prospect that the US forces, after leaving hundreds of millions of dollars of equipment behind them, will have to scuttle out of the country leaving no recognised government behind them, and with the treaty that would allow some 14,000 US troops to remain in the country unsigned!
Such a development could only be the prelude to the Taleban sweeping into Kabul and taking power, with the US suffering its biggest defeat since its troops had to scuttle out of Vietnam, as the NLF forces entered Saigon.
Kerry’s aides said yesterday that Afghanistan is at a ‘critical moment’, a remarkable understatement of the crisis that the ‘democratic election’ has ushered in.
His hastily arranged visit, is an attempt to get the rival victors Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani to make a deal that will mean one of them admitting that his party did not win the election. There is also the issue as to whether one or both parties are at the same time having ‘critical’ discussions with the Taleban.
At the start of his meeting with Kerry, Ghani said that he would agree to an ‘intensive audit’ of votes that would ensure the ‘integrity and the legitimacy that the people of Afghanistan and the world will believe in’.
Meanwhile Abdullah Abdullah, who official results allege lost the election, is planning to establish his ‘parallel government’.
The US quickly responded by warning that such an act would trigger the suspension of all aid and security assistance for ever.
Also in the wings is the current President Hamid Karzai, He is due to step down, after more than ten years. He was put into power by the US after a US invasion overthrew the Taleban government.
He was undermined by the US-UK policy of drone and missile attacks on villages and villagers, and has turned into a hostile opponent of US policy.
He refused to sign the vital US withdrawal treaty and since the election has condemned the US occupation and its destructive effect on Afghanistan at every conceivable opportunity.
‘We are at a very, very critical moment for Afghanistan,’ said Kerry after meeting the head of the UN Assistance Mission Jan Kubis at the US embassy in Kabul.
‘Our hopes are that there is a road that can be found that will provide that capacity for the questions to be answered, for people’s doubts to be satisfied and hopefully for a future to be defined,’ Kerry added.
However, the preliminary results announced by Afghanistan’s election officials give Ghani 56.44% of votes in the 14 June run-off, with Abdullah Abdullah gaining 43.45%.
These results are exactly the opposite from those achieved in the first round of voting held in April, when Abdullah fell just short of an outright majority, with 44.9%, with Ghani second at 31.5%.
Meanwhile, the UN Assistance Mission to Afghanistan has warned it will be ‘premature’ for either side to claim victory. It called on the presidential candidates to exercise restraint and prevent their armed supporters from ‘taking steps that could lead to civil disorder and instability’.
There are also concerns about a further deterioration in the security situation, and the likelyhood that one or the other of the two parties will make an agreement with the Taleban.
The Taleban is currently testing out the situation with major offensives in the ex-British occupied Helmand province.
The withdrawal of foreign troops by the end of this year will be the litmus test of whether more than a decade of training and investment in building up Afghanistan’s own security forces has paid off.
The examples of Vietnam and now the collapse of the US-trained Iraqi army give the answer to that question.
The US is on the brink of a historic humiliation at the hands of the Afghan masses, that can only encourage the working class and masses of the world to go forward to smash capitalism and imperialism.