After Afghanistan was occupied by United States-NATO forces, including Australia, they divided its 34 provinces between around 43 invading countries.
For example, Australia had responsibility for Uruzgan, a southern province; Kandahar was given to Canada; Herat was given to Italy; and Kunduz province, in the north, was controlled by German forces.
But the US, the big boss, was in every province and had control of the major ones.
Kabul, the capital, is mostly controlled by the US.
The British and the US were vying for control of Helmand, Afghanistan’s main source of opium. Kandahar was also important to Canada and the US: they even had fights among themselves to control these provinces.
Apparently, they made a kind of committee: they used to call it “Provincial rehabilitation team” or PRT. They wanted control over the province to make money from it.
According to media reports, more than US$120 billion was given in the form of “humanitarian aid” to Afghanistan. But more than 50% of this never came because the occupying countries made contracts with the big, mainly US-based, companies and therefore most of the money went back to the US.
The money was mostly used on the military. The figures show that they were spending about US$15,000 every month on a single occupying soldier. The rest was given to warlords.
Australia, for instance, invested in warlord Matiullah Khan from Oruzgan. He was once a simple taxi driver but, within 3 or 4 years, he became a kingpin over that area: he was made police chief and he had control over who should be the governor or not. A governor post is more important than a police chief.
This is despite reports of his crimes. For example, the AIM network reported on April 15, 2015 how Khan’s militia had been involved in mass murder, rape and abductions of men and women and other crimes. In one incident, he killed 80 people in a meeting: 5 were shot and the rest were stabbed to death.
Afghanistan was occupied in the name of “bringing liberation to women”, “democracy and justice” and other beautiful-sounding words.
Right now, besides the Taliban, there are 23 other terrorist groups active in Afghanistan, including ISIS, the Haqqani network and other small terrorist groups from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and other places. They are all committing crimes in Afghanistan.
The irony is that all these terrorist groups are either supported by the imperialist countries — US, Britain, Russia and China — or they are supported by reactionary regional powers such as Iran, Pakistan, Turkey and Uzbekistan. All these have their own proxy troops in Afghanistan.
Currently, Iran and Saudi Arabia are fighting their war in Afghanistan. India and Pakistan are fighting their war in Afghanistan. China and the US are fighting their war in Afghanistan. Russia and the US are fighting their war in Afghanistan. Iran is supporting one faction of the Taliban and the US is supporting another one.
The victims of these war crimes and bloodshed are the Afghan people — especially women and children.
Taliban grows stronger
The US claims that it will end the Taliban. But, as we now see from the so-called peace negotiations in Doha, Qatar, every day they are getting stronger.
There are many reasons for this.
First, the Taliban are supported by the foreign troops because to justify its presence the US government will want to have a kind of virtual enemy. We have how the US used Saddam Hussein in Iraq, and other countries.
The same is happening in Afghanistan. Now, the US is issuing lots of propaganda about ISIS because they want to fool people that the Taliban is finished. But then another terrorist group will pop up and the US will say, “We should be [in Afghanistan] so we can fight against them”.
Secondly, the Taliban have become stronger due to the crimes committed by foreign troops — the most recent example being the example of the Australian troops.
But the German troops have also committed crimes, as have the French, British and Italians. Some have been reported, especially the international media, but mostly nobody has talked about them.
And, of course, the US troops have committed many crimes. This is the reason they want to push people towards the Taliban.
The other reason is because of the lack of progressive forces and individuals in Afghanistan. Many progressives and leftists were killed during the Soviet Union’s invasion and occupation.
At the same time, the warlords, including the jihadi parties that were supported by CIA and ISI Pakistan, killed progressive forces and individuals.
That is another reason that there is a gap, and the Taliban can recruit people to continue their war.
Troops must leave
From the very first days of the US “peace negotiations” with the Taliban, we said that there will be no peace in Afghanistan until and unless the foreign troops leave.
The Trump administration says the US is leaving, but we don’t believe that: they brought Taliban to the table because of their own election promise.
Also, they won’t leave because they are earning a lot from the opium. According to reports, every year US and British troops earn between US$500–600 billion from Afghanistan, with only about US$2–3 billion returning back to the country.
The rest of the money is used by the US and British troops: it is one of their main financial sources.
The other reason the [occupiers] will not leave is Afghanistan’s precious stones and metals.
For example, in Helmand province, one of the most insecure places on earth, we have uranium which the British and US and their proxy forces, in the form of the Taliban or other terrorist groups, are extracting.
Also, Helmand has the best land for cultivating opium — the other reason they want to have control over the cultivation and the trafficking of the opium.
Afghanistan shares a border with Iran, China, Russia, India and Pakistan among other countries, is in the heart of Asia. When US has its military here, it has control over Asia.
That’s another reason why the occupiers do not want to leave.
We think the foreign troops will only leave Afghanistan when our people stand up and fight them. By this we mean when we are represented and led by progressive, not reactionary, forces, such as the Taliban.
The other reason why there will be no peace until US-NATO forces leave is because they want to use Afghanistan in their proxy wars against China, Russia and Iran. Every day, their proxy forces unleash suicide bombings: there are a lot of attacks on military posts.
They want to have their war here, because they don’t want a rival country to be present in Afghanistan.
The US and NATO countries should leave Afghanistan and also stop supporting the warlords. If they leave but continue to support the warlords, the war and the bloodshed will continue.
The puppet government of President Ashraf Ghani is corrupt. Every day, new corruption is reported, although after one or two days everybody forgets because everyone knows the officials, including the president and his ministers, are involved.
When a case of corruption is found, they try to hush it up. If they prosecute one corrupt person, of course, he or she (especially he) will have to talk about corruption happening at ministerial levels.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made a bad situation worse. Because most people are labourers, they only earn on daily basis. So, during a lockdown they cannot make a living.
Afghanistan received US$600 million in aid from the US, Japan and some European countries to fight COVID-19. But most of this money was embezzled by officials.
At the start of the lockdown in June, the health minister was forced to resign because of corruption. But, under the new health minister, things didn’t change. He belongs to another jihadist faction, and they just continued on where the previous minister left off.
Regarding Australia’s Brereton report on war crimes, we believe that because war crimes are committed not only by individuals, but on behalf of a government, that alongside the prosecution of individual Australian special forces soldiers, senior government officials, especially the former Prime Minister John Howard, who sent Australian troops to Afghanistan in 2001, must also be held to account.
The government that sent the troops is also criminally responsible for the heinous crimes and therefore must also be prosecuted.
We would also like to thank Julian Assange and John Pilger, and others, who spoke up about the war crimes in Afghanistan. We are thankful to those who speak on behalf of Afghan people.
[This article is based on a talk given by Solidarity Party of Afghanistan member Ubaid Kabir at a Socialist Alliance forum on December 2.]