Statement of ILPS in Canada, August 23, 2021
The International League of People’s Struggle in Canada (ILPS) is closely watching the developments in Afghanistan in recent days: the capture of the country’s capital Kabul by Taliban rebel forces and the collapse of the US-installed and NATO-backed Ashraf Ghani regime. This occurred despite NATO assurances of the regime’s stability, days before the complete pullout of US troops from the country and after 20 years of colonial occupation. This occupation was the result of a brutal and bloody war of aggression that resulted in a protracted crisis in Afghanistan and its neighbouring countries, particularly Pakistan, which received millions of USD for the war on terror, as well as drone strikes that killed thousands.
The fall of Kabul is a significant defeat for Western imperialism. It is a spectacular demonstration that the world’s foremost superpower could not bring genuine peace, development and democracy to Afghanistan through its relentless bombings, empowerment of corrupt local elites, and widespread torture, assault and murder. It highlights how the Taliban, through two long decades, has been able to preserve itself, wear out a technologically more powerful enemy, and take advantage of conditions that forced NATO to pull out its military forces.
Invasion and occupation by an imperialist power will only breed resistance among the people, who are capable of winning. It also reminds the people of the world how, in 1979 during the Cold War, the Soviet Union intervention in Afghanistan eventually led to the defeat of the Soviet aggressors and withdrawal of its troops in 1988-89. Forces backed by the USA to fight communism in Afghanistan led to a breeding ground for various fundamentalist terrorist networks in the region and beyond.
Canadian media have lied to the public and themselves about this war, pretending that the purpose of the war was to protect Afghan women, or to transform the country into some kind of liberal democracy. In reality, over 100,000 Afghans have been killed by direct violence, largely civilians, while the indirect effects of the war have killed another 400,000. In 2010, some 70% of Afghans were living in poverty. Canadian companies gorged themselves on reconstruction, mining, telecommunications, and other projects, few of which ever resulted in development for Afghans but all of which profited companies like Canaccord Financial, SRK Consulting, and the notorious SNC-Lavalin. Canadian military officials drafted Afghan legislation, including promoting concessions to the religious right that re-established many of the patriarchal laws and practices under the Taliban. Canada’s role in Afghanistan was summed up even in 2001 by the National Post, which wrote “what the Afghans need is colonizing.”
History suggests the Taliban is unlikely to rule in a way that will uphold the Afghan peoples’ interest for genuine freedom, democracy, respect for human rights and pro-people development. Global powers China and Russia have immediately expressed their willingness to work with the Taliban government. At the same time, the situation may also allow US imperialist forces and its NATO allies to plot for another occupation in Afghanistan.
The hope of the people of the world lies in the Afghan people, and their unity, movement and struggle. The ILPS looks forward to the emergence and advance in Afghanistan of an anti-imperialist and democratic movement of the people. We hope that this movement will have a pro-people assessment of Afghan history, especially the US war of aggression and occupation, and lead the struggle of the Afghan people for genuine national independence, democracy and socialism.