For nearly two decades, Selay Ghaffar has been outspoken in condemning the US and NATO invasion of Afghanistan. Her fierce stance against the Islamic fundamentalists and the US backed regime that collapsed in August 2021, made her a high a popular figure in Afghanistan. Here are some of her viewpoints on key issues.

THE TALIBAN MYSTERIOUS RETURN

Afghanistan is now going through the most turbulent period in its history because of the mess left behind by the U.S.’s occupying forces. For nearly two decades, the U.S. cultivated a small group of mafia and power brokers, including Jehadi fundamentalists with criminal pasts, creating the most corrupted government in the world. They replaced the corrupted and mafia regime of Ghani with the savage Taliban.

This is true that Taliban’s sudden and mysterious takeover of Kabul was a surprise for the whole world, but it was not of a big surprise at least for Afghan people because it was clear from the deal, they have signed with the U.S. back in February 2020 that the U.S. had promised them the return of power.[1] In the past few months our people have witnessed how in one week, city after city fell under the control of the Taliban without any resistance or fighting back. The Submission of Afghanistan to the terrorist Taliban is a betrayal from the US to Afghan people, especially women. The same disloyality was committed exactly 20 years ago under the name of democracy when they replaced the Taliban by the Jihadis Fundamentalists who were responsible for destructive civil war back in early 90s. Unfortunately, history is repeated in Afghanistan and now we are where we were 20 years ago. In this dealing and wheeling of U.S with its lackeys our innocent and defenseless people are suffering.

Soon or later all these western countries will recognize the Taliban regime as well. Ironically, the only pre-condition set by the world community to recognize the Taliban’s Islamic Emirate, is a gentle plea to them to form an “inclusive and broad-based government”, which literally means bringing back Jehadi criminals and the traitors, who became wealthy emperors from the loose money they had looted in 20 years. These self-proclaimed religious and communal leaders can never represent Afghanistan’s minorities and ethnics. Taliban, being the brothers-in-creed of Jehadis that share a common ideology, would ultimately come down to include them in power by an order from their abettor, the Pakistan army.

THE RAPID FALL OF GHANI REGIME

Well, the collapse of Ghani government, despite it having a well-equipped and trained army in comparison to the Taliban, because it was a puppet regime and never had the support of the people. It was not a popular and democratic government and did not have a popular base among the masses particularly minorities. Second, during these years Afghanistan was on the top of list of countries with highest rate of corruption, unemployment, poverty, insecurity, drug addiction of youth, injustice, trafficking, mafia, and many more so that people were fed up with the government and its corrupted puppet rulers. They have done nothing for the people except for plunder and loot them. People did not have the motive to fight Taliban for the Afghan puppet government. The third and most important that the security institutions were the most corrupted, anti-patriotic and so they decided to handover each city to the Taliban without fighting back. In these 20 years they made luxurious life for themselves and accumulated wealth out of the nation’s budget and of course did not want to lose their wealth. From the other side the army was totally dependent on the U.S. funding which without their support was not able to continue a day.

AFGHAN WOMEN: THE PRIME VICTIMS

The people of Afghanistan, especially its women, are among the most suppressed people in the world who have been the victims of the most heinous crimes in the last four decades. Meanwhile, countries like the United States, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Iran that have been involved in Afghanistan for decades, tried to support the growth of religious fundamentalist organizations in our country that consider women as their sworn enemies and in the empowerment of women see their decline. They backed those who considered women to be mentally retarded, half-men, and a means of quenching men's lust.

In 2001 when the United State planned to occupy Afghanistan, needed a strong justification for the prolonged war in Afghanistan to win the public support, particularly when Osama was killed and the American public began questioning the reason for continuing the “war on terror”, and nothing could have carried more weight as “women’s liberation”. Laura Bush emotional radio address in November 2001 about the situation of Afghan women was certainly heart-breaking for the American people.[2] Time magazine followed suit with a special report on the oppression of women in Afghanistan titled, "Lifting the Veil". Americans from across the political spectrum cheered this policy.[3]

Kim Berry wrote in her 2003 article, “The Symbolic use of Afghan Women in the War on Terror”:[4]The Bush administration’s focus on the oppression of Afghan women emerged in the midst of the construction and implementation of the ‘war on terror,’ and given that public support for this on-going war is being mobilized through a strategic use of words and images…we run the risk of using Afghan women as symbols and pawns in a geopolitical conflict, thereby muting their diverse needs and interests and foreclosing the possibility of contributing to the realization of their self-defined priorities and aspirations.”

Mainstream media did a better job than the U.S. administration in portraying a rosy picture of Afghan women under the U.S. occupation. By bringing few show-ladies into their limelight, they could easily win the heart and mind of Americans and Europeans, blind-minding them of the actual reality on the ground. The ruthless medieval murder of Furkhunda, beheading of Tabasum and stoning-to-death of Rukhshana should have been enough evidence to reveal the truth about the U.S. tyrannical policy in Afghanistan, and the depth and intensity of the misery Afghan women were undergoing in the U.S.-occupied Afghanistan.

Violence against women seems to have now become an accepted way of life in Afghanistan, where Islamic fundamentalism constitutes the dominated ideology of the ruling class, promoting misogynist ethos and policies. Upon seizing power in August, the Taliban regime instituted a system of gender apartheid effectively thrusting the women of Afghanistan into a state of house arrest, stripping women of all human rights – their work, visibility, opportunity for education, voice, healthcare, and mobility were all taken away.

Like women liberation was used as an excuse to occupy our homeland back in 2001, now once again they are using women’s right and women's freedom as a pre-context to recognize the Taliban misogynist regime. These western countries that now putting women’s rights as one of the conditions for recognition of the Taliban are responsible for miseries and atrocities committed against women by these brutal regime as they have brought the anti-woman Taliban back to power.

Afghanistan is now a big prison to women who can only achieve their rights through sacrifice and united struggle. To achieve their rights, women must first fight against the anti-human and estreme ideology of Taliban fundamentalism, instead of demanding their rights from this medieval minded regime. Fortunately, women have learned from experience over the past 20 years that no force gives them the freedom and rights, so women were the first force to speak out against the Taliban. Despite threats and violence, imprisonment, torture and even the murder of women protestors, they came out on the streets and raised their voices for justice and freedom.

The chains of bondage from the hands and feet of women can be broken only when they firstly attain consciousness and secondly become organized and participate actively in the anti-fundamentalism struggle. No other power can emancipate the women of our society from oppression, and "no revolution is victorious without the participation of women".

The responsibility of all women groups and progressive forces in the country are to keep this movement alive and in addition, raising the political awareness of the Afghan people, further exposing the evil nature of these criminals and misogynists. The mobilization and organization of the poorest sections of society shout be at the forefront of our struggle, and this is the only way to keep a truly popular and unbeatable movement running.

Equal rights of men and women can be realized and assured only with complete democratization of society. Struggling for women’s rights is an integral part of the struggle for true democracy and secularism.

TWENTY YEARS OF INVASION: VICIOUS CYCLE OF TERRORISM

The USA has left Afghanistan as was planned not defeated by its mercenaries Taliban.  one of the reasons is because of its own internal social and financial crises. The other reason, Afghan war was so expensive war in the history of the US whose cost had gone into trillions of dollars, they couldn’t afford to continue with this exorbitant option anymore, therefore, preferred to change the gear and go for a less expensive option. By striking the deal with the Taliban would give the U.S government a competitive edge over its economic and military rivals while keeping Afghanistan under its control with the smallest economic cost. The USA wants to have control of Afghanistan but with less expenses because pouring money in Afghanistan like in the past 20 years which costs her more than 2 trillion[5] will not be able to keep its hegemony over other territories. The USA currently need more money to invest in technology to defeat its rival China who’s economy growing rapidly and threating the USA’s stance as world’s leading economy. One of USA strategy in Afghanistan is to stop the domination of China and Russia over Afghanistan. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI­) is very important for USA that will never allow China to have direct hands in Afghanistan. The Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline (TAPI) and benefiting from the natural resources of Afghanistan are still big interest for the USA. Exporting the terrorism to central Asia and instability of Russia and China is another important issue for the USA which can be done through Afghanistan, as its geopolitical and strategic position in Asia. Therefore, US will never leave Afghanistan to its rivals.

Today, more than ever, it proves the veracity of this fact the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan had nothing to do with “War on Terror” and destroying the terrorist sanctuaries, the U.S. in contrast used the Taliban as a pretext for occupying our war-ravaged homeland. And after two decades of killing the innocent people, which eventually pushed Afghanistan further into the terrorism and mafia’s trap, the U.S. has come down to broker the peace with the brutal Taliban paving the way for them to return to power. It was of no importance for the U.S. if the terrorists continue to shed the blood of innocent civilians, what matters for the U.S. was to make a deal with the religio-fascists that could give the U.S. government a competitive edge over its economic and military rivals while keeping our country under its control with a least cost.

AFGHANISTAN NEIGHBORS: THE PREDATORS  

The regional countries of Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have always had bloody hands in Afghanistan in the past four decades. These countries are the hunters that pillage Afghanistan for their own benefit and in return bring insecurity when arming militias, like the Taliban to wreak havoc across the nation. Each wants to gain influence in Afghanistan for their own interests. Today, with the re-emergence of the Taliban, each of them is trying to have the upper hand in Afghanistan.  

The Pakistan regime, which used to be the stepfather of criminal Jihadist’s factions in the past and now the stepfather of the Taliban, is never interested in peace and stability in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is the center for its proxy war with India. Pakistan today is a staunch supporter of the Taliban and is trying to persuade other countries to recognize the Taliban as soon as possible. The Taliban have always trained and brainwashed its fighters in Pakistani Madrasas. We witnessed the head of ISI being one of the first who arrived at Kabul after Taliban takeover to form its desired cabinet. The explicit interferences in the political affairs of Afghanistan shows that they are the main supporter of Taliban. Our nation and history will never forget and forgive these crimes by Pakistan.

In the past, Iran also deliberately backed the eight Shiite criminal fundamentalist factions. They trained enough mercenaries under the disguise of cultural work for the past 20 years. Iran is the one who always fueled Shiite-Sunni clashes or hatred in Afghanistan. The clerical regime of Iran is the ideological brothers of Taliban. They share the same anti-humanity and anti-women ideology that always see women as their first enemies and afraid of women’s power. In the past they supported different groups of Taliban and still has very close ties with them and was the first country that invited the brutal Taliban to Tehran.

There is fierce competition between Saudi Arabia and Iran over the conquer of the regional countries. Afghanistan is currently their main center of proxy war.

Another major reason is the free use of Afghanistan's rich waters. Iran never wanted the water dams in Farah and Nimroz to be built and always kept those border provinces insure by backing the Taliban in those areas.  Currently with the support of the Taliban, they want to implement this policy of using free water.

The Erdogan regime, on the other hand, is seeking more a leading role in Afghanistan, promoting his country as an alternative to the U.S. and NATO. Soon after Biden announced the withdrawal of U.S. troops, Turkey agreed to take the responsibility of the Kabul airport which is main international gateway. He is aiming to strengthen his position in the region and increase clout in the Muslim world. Turkey is one of the main supporters of ISIS in the region, just as they backed ISIS dark-minded group in Syria and Iraq, will certainly back them in Afghanistan as well.

ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISM: CIA’S MOST TRUSTWORTHY MERCENARIES

The rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Afghanistan gained momentum after the Soviet invasion in 1980s. Taking full advantage of the explosive religious indignation of the people of Afghanistan, the U.S. and its regional partners (Pakistan and Saudi Arabia) rushed to the scene train and arming the religious fundamentalism. The choice of Islamic fundamentalists as the most trustworthy mercenaries of the CIA was not fortuitous. They could better serve the U.S. interest by mobilizing people against the Soviets under the name of “Holy War”. In order to pin their position as leading the US mission, they needed to wipe out the progressive elements from the scene. Therefore, thousands of true patriots were physically annihilated during the war against the Soviets.

The collapse of the Soviet-backed regime in April 1992 whipped up the Islamic fundamentalists scrimmage for power. The bloody civil wars erupted between the Jehadi factions in 1992-1996 seemed disappointed the U.S. and therefore they turned to alternative patrons. Through Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Arab Gulf states. they deployed their reserve forces, the Taliban ultra-fundamentalists, who had been bred and trained surreptitiously in religious seminaries in Pakistan with Arab petrodollars.

Hillary Clinton, admitted in 2013 that Al-Qaeda and ISIS were US creatures:[6] “Let’s remember here… the people we are fighting today we funded them twenty years ago… and we did it because we were locked in a struggle with the Soviet Union. They (Soviets) invaded Afghanistan… and we did not want to see them control Central Asia and we went to work… and it was President Reagan in partnership with Congress led by Democrats who said you know what it sounds like a pretty good idea… let’s deal with the ISI and the Pakistan military and let’s go recruit these mujahedin. And great, let them come from Saudi Arabia and other countries, importing thir Wahhabi brand of Islam so that we can go beat the Soviet Union... And guess what … they (Soviets) retreated … they lost billions of dollars and it led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. So there is a very strong argument which is… it wasn’t a bad investment in terms of Soviet Union but let’s be careful with what we sow… because we will harvest."

UNITED PROGRESSIVE FORCES: AN ALTERNATIVE

In the 60s and 70s, the progressive forces were very strong and had popular leaders who were considered as a prominent force in politics of Afghanistan. But after the occupation of the former Soviet Union and the puppet government of Khalq and Parcham, they have been targeted, imprisoned, and killed. In the time of the Mojahedin, again they were the first targets that almost all their leaders were assassinated and killed both in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In the past two decades of so-called democracy, they were under attack from one side and from other side there was huge leadership vacuum. Therefore, the progressive forces never became an alternative solution to the situation.

Undoubtedly, our country goes through the darkest period in its history, which demands the mobilization of the masses to a fearless struggle for liberation. Therefore, it is a daunting duty upon all intellectuals, and all democratic, progressive, anti-fundamentalists forces to forge a widespread movement alongside people, fighting the rule of crazed religious Taliban.

REFERENCES:

[1] Doha Agreement: Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan, NPR, https://www.npr.org/2020/02/29/810537586/u-s-signs-peace-deal-with-taliban-after-nearly-2-decades-of-war-in-afghanistan, February 29, 2020

[2] Laura Bush, ‘Taliban oppression of women and children inside Afghanistan’, eMediaMillWorks, https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/nation/specials/attacked/transcripts/laurabushtext_111701.html, November 17, 2001

[3] Lifting the Veil, Time Magazine, Vol. 158. No. 24, http://content.time.com/time/magazine/0,9263,7601011203,00.html, December 3, 2001

[4] Kim Berry, The Symbolic use of Afghan Women in the War on Terror, Humboldt Journal of Social Relations 27 (2): 137-160, year 2003

[5] Costs of War Project, Unites States Costs of the War in Afghanistan 2001-2022, Brown University, https://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/figures/2021/human-and-budgetary-costs-date-us-war-afghanistan-2001-2022, August 2021

[6] Hillary Clinton, Fax news, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oytXaKosy4g, 2013