SEVEN years of British involvement in the US-led illegal occupation of Afghanistan have brought no benefit to the people of either country.
Afghans have been slaughtered in their tens of thousands, for identifying with the “government” of Hamid Karzai, at the hands of the invaders or as a function of “collateral damage,” as the slaughter of civilians is now euphemised.
People who have grown up in Britain may find guests firing rifles into the air to celebrate a wedding a little unusual.
The US air force regards such customs as virtually a declaration of war, which is why so many wedding parties have been targeted by a hail of rocket fire and assault by special forces, leading to enormous loss of life.
US military spokespeople have invariably maintained, even in the face of abundant evidence of slaughtered children, that they hit al-Qaida/Taliban safe houses or military camps.
No-one believes the yarns that are being spun, but too many people are prepared to accept the false prospectus under which military occupation was justified.
Although al-Qaida has historically had military training camps in Afghanistan, this was not necessarily with the consent of the Afghan people.
It was Washington and its close allies in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan that funded, equipped and organised these camps, first against the Soviet Red Army and then against the modernising secular government of President Najibullah.
The “crimes” committed by the Najibullah government were distributing land from feudal landlords to the landless and extending education to girls and young women.
And yet the White House and Downing Street try to win support for a supposed agenda of women’s rights as part justification for their war against the Afghan people.
The conspiracy to attack the Twin Towers and other targets in the US was not hatched in Afghanistan but in Saudi Arabia, from where most of the conspirators hailed, and their motivation was the stationing of US military forces in Saudi Arabia during the first war against Iraq, following Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait.
Neither can the invaders’ attempts to claim to be taking effective action to curtail opium poppy production be taken seriously.
The Taliban government had virtually wiped out this crop before the 2001 invasion. In fact, it was US warlord allies in the self-styled Northern Alliance who were up to their necks in the international heroin trade.
There is not a single aspect of the seven-year-long occupation that can be put forward as a success.
Life expectancy has fallen to 43, one in five children die before their fifth birthday, women’s rights are a figment of US spin doctors’ imagination and the blood of the innocent continues to haemorrhage.
US president-elect Barack Obama’s positive message on Iraq does not stretch to Afghanistan.
He has taken on board the fiction, as has Gordon Brown, that security for the US people depends on subjugating Afghanistan and building a form of Washington-approved democracy there.
It has not worked and it will not work. And all the time the lives of Afghans and occupation forces will be lost. There is no positive role for British troops there. This unwinnable war must be ended without delay.
(20 November 2008 editorial Morning Star)