Ten NATO occupation soldiers were killed by Afghan resistance forces on June 7, marking the deadliest day on record for the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan.
Seven of those killed were U.S. soldiers. NATO reported that five troops were killed in an insurgent attack against a police training center, two soldiers were killed in a roadside bombing attack and one in a small arms attack. One day earlier, June 6, five NATO troops were killed in small arms fire attacks, a roadside bombing and a car crash. It is unclear if the car crash was related to a resistance attack.
The attacks are the latest in a series of increasingly bold strikes against the U.S. occupation by Afghan resistance forces. The Afghan people have been waging a nine-year struggle to oust the U.S./NATO occupation of their country. In 2010, all indications show that their struggle for freedom and independence is gaining strength, while the grip of the occupation is weakening.
Bold Attacks on U.S. Air Bases
Last month, Afghan resistance fighters attacked the massive Bagram air base in the central Parwan province. Bagram is one of the largest U.S. military bases in Afghanistan. Many of the unmanned drone aircraft that are used to assassinate resistance figures - killing thousands of Afghan and Pakistani civilians in the process - are launched from this base. Over 30 fighters attacked the base on May 19 with rockets and small arms fire, in a fight that lasted for several hours. One U.S. soldier was killed and nine were wounded. So far this year, Bagram has been attacked about once a week.
Days later, insurgents attacked another major military base of U.S. occupation, the Kandahar air base. The Kandahar air base is the largest in southern Afghanistan, and is another launching point for the hated Predator drone aircraft, as well as for U.S. airstrikes and bombing raids that have killed thousands of civilians. The resistance attack lasted for two hours; one of the rockets injured several U.S. troops. That same day, three U.S. soldiers were killed elsewhere in the country.
Occupation to Attack Kandahar?
Several months ago the U.S. military made clear its desire to root out resistance fighters from Kandahar with pronouncements that it intends to begin a major military operation in the area later this month. Kandahar is known to be a stronghold of resistance forces in Afghanistan - 258 NATO troops have been killed in the province during this war, the second highest death toll for any Afghan province. But the U.S. will face a difficult, if not impossible task, of controlling the city. Any military operation in the city of Kandahar is certain to result in pitched urban warfare with well-trained and motivated fighters. It seems unlikely that the U.S. can effectively control the city, yet to admit that it is in the hands of the insurgency would be a major blow to the morale of the occupation forces.
In many ways the U.S. moves to attack Kandahar reveal the essence of where the U.S. occupation currently stands: the U.S. military knows it cannot succeed in controlling Kandahar because it lacks legitimacy and that any attack on the city will result in hundreds of civilian casualties which will drive more Afghans into the resistance. Yet fear of admitting defeat propels the U.S. military into a worse position of entering a fight that it cannot win. And this cycle is being played out across the country with disastrous results for the people of Afghanistan.
Corrupt Occupation Government Lacks Legitimacy
The corrupt occupation government in Kabul, headed by President Hamid Karzai, recently held a so-called 'peace meeting' in Kabul, with much fanfare. The aim of the meeting was to shore up support for the hated Karzai regime in its struggle against the Taliban and other Afghan resistance forces. The Karzai government has been linked numerous times with drug trafficking. It maintains power through an alliance with corrupt warlords who share the spoils of the drug trade.
Meanwhile here is how ordinary people live in Afghanistan: 42% of the population lives in poverty. The average Afghan lives on a dollar a day. The life expectancy is 44 years. The literacy rate is 28%. One in five children will die before they reach the age of five. There are over 3 million refugees.
Meanwhile, President Karzai and his associates, much like the puppet government in occupied Iraq, live in luxurious, walled compounds and earn tens of millions of dollars from the drug trade. They pay off the 240,000-strong puppet police and military force, trained by the U.S. and NATO, to further their deals in the drug trade.
The U.S. has been trying to stabilize its puppet government in Kabul. For the U.S. to succeed in maintaining its occupation of Afghanistan, it must first make the Afghan people accept the puppet government in Kabul as a legitimate force. And of course, it is clear the U.S. is failing in this task as it continues to lose ground to Afghan anti-occupation forces across the country each day. It is in this context that the loya jirga, or 'grand assembly,' must be analyzed.
The loya jirga took place June 3. 1600 delegates, hand-picked by President Karzai's staff, participated. From the beginning it was clear that this was a staged event, not an assembly with political power. One member of the Afghan parliament told the New York Times, “It’s dangerous to raise people’s expectations with this fake and artificial exercise; it’s a workshop, not a jirga." Another parliamentarian, Mir Joyenda, said, “This is a mistake; all the warlords were there in the front row.”
But as we have seen, it was no ‘mistake’ that the warlords were sitting in the front row. It could not have been otherwise. That is the basis of power for the U.S.-backed Karzai government.
For their part, the Taliban boycotted the jirga and launched a sustained attack on its opening day. As President Karzai began speaking, urging the Taliban to lay down arms, a rocket exploded a few hundred yards away from the tent. Minutes later, another rocket landed and resistance fighters began an attack on the security forces at the compound.
Mullah Zayfan, a local Taliban commander, commented on the attack, “The Islamic Emirate has a rule. While foreign forces are here, no representatives are allowed to attend any jirgas, or any talks. After the foreign troops leave, Afghans can sit and talk together.”
An Unjust War for the U.S. - A Just Struggle for the Afghan People
Civilian casualties continue to mount during this conflict. Officially, the number of civilians killed last year was 2259. But the true number is almost certainly much higher. Like in Iraq (“We don't do body counts,” the top general in Iraq, Tommy Franks, once said), the U.S. military seems to show little concern for how many civilians are killed by its airstrikes, drone missile attacks, night raids and ground assaults. Rather than reveal the truth about civilian casualties, the U.S. has instead recently been caught lying about murders of Afghan civilians.
But instead of ending this occupation, the Obama government has escalated the war, while Democratic Party politicians vote in funding for the Afghanistan war. Over $60 billion dollars were just appropriated for the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan last week. The U.S. has now appropriated over $1 trillion dollars for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, while working people suffer from massive unemployment, poverty and uncertainty in the greatest economic crisis in 80 years. U.S. troop numbers continue to increase in Afghanistan - over 87,000 U.S. troops are in Afghanistan this year, twice the number that was there last year. On top of that, another 40,000 NATO troops are in Afghanistan.
1099 U.S. troops have been killed so far in Afghanistan, and over 6000 wounded. This is a tragedy for thousands of American families that are faced with the loss of a loved one, or the debilitating injuries suffered by a family member of friend. Tens of thousands of U.S. troops suffer from post traumatic stress disorder and are frequently denied medical care for this condition.
As the U.S. and NATO attempt to strike out against those who oppose the occupation, the national liberation movement in Afghanistan continues to grow. The people fighting the U.S./NATO occupation of Afghanistan are doing what anyone would do if their country was occupied and a corrupt, warlord government was installed to rule over them. The problems about conservative, oppressive forces within the resistance movement against the U.S. occupation is a problem that Afghan people can deal with on their own, free from a foreign occupation.
The anti-war movement in the NATO countries continues to wage struggle in solidarity with the Afghan people. The anti-war struggle in the Netherlands grew so strong as to cause the government there to collapse in February 2010, as anti-war forces opposed the Prime Minister's attempt to keep thousands of Dutch troops in occupied Afghanistan. This is a great example of the strength of the anti-war movement in the NATO countries.
Anti-war forces must unite across continents, and with the anti-occupation forces in Afghanistan, to end the unjust occupation of Afghanistan. Until there is justice, it is clear that there will be no peace.