Will Afghanistan Slip Back into the Dark Ages?David Starr RSN Godot
Ideally, the decision by U.S. President Joe Biden to withdraw from Afghanistan was a necessary one. It is hoped that it's gotten down to the realization for many U.S. citizens that the United States must stop its forever wars with imperial and regime change objectives.
The U.S. was in Afghanistan for 20 years and what does it have to show for it? Nothing but death and destruction. Usually, these are the results of the U.S. militarily interfering in "Third World" countries. And it's an old pattern.
The biggest consequence of U.S. withdrawal was opening up the way for the Taliban to retake power. The Taliban took little time in retaking Kabul, driving out the U.S.-backed government and military. It no doubt is impatient with wanting to reestablish its version of Sharia law, which possibly amounts to a religiously fanatical and barbaric slide back into the Dark Ages. But the Taliban is promoting a kinder and gentler image to the world. A spokesman said that the Taliban supports women's rights, education and freedom of speech.
Not so says Amilia Spartak, a member of the Afghan Democratic Women's Organization: "Official Taliban spokespersons are trying to present a moderate and gentle face of the Taliban. This is a disguise to mask the true face of their policies because they fear that the international community will otherwise not recognize them." (People's World, 08/30/202. Reprinted from Morning Star, a British newspaper.)
The odds are that the past behavior of the Taliban will reflect what they intend to do in the present. They took control of almost 90% of Afghanistan in 1998. From there they imposed the strict version of Sharia law. There were public executions of people accused of murder or adultery. Thieves were subjected to amputations. Television, music and cinema were banned. The Taliban didn't want girls 10 years old and older to go to school. They were accused of various rights abuses. And to further prove their intolerance, the Taliban had the Bamiyan Buddha statues blown up in Central Afghanistan; the statues represented a brilliant artistic endeavor. (BBC, 08/18/2021.)
The Taliban claim that they are not seeking vengeance against any opposition, by declaring a general amnesty. Spartak, however, doesn't believe this is for real, seeing it as a cover for their real intentions. An example pointing to this is a long list made by the Taliban of police, national security and military personnel in the opposition where the Taliban would go door-to-door looking for them. Spartak said that "Fortunately, many of them became aware and fled or are in hiding."
The U.S. military is another cause for concern in Afghanistan. As U.S. troops withdrew, there was a drone strike carried out by the U.S. which killed 10 civilians, including children. The Pentagon and the Biden administration deny this, claiming that the strike killed members of ISIS. There were, however, witnesses to the incident. The strike occurred in a neighborhood where a man drove his car to a home and had children waiting for him. The U.S. claimed that the car had explosives but if that were the case there would have been a much larger explosion after the drone struck its target. The family of Ramal Ahmadi were the victims. Ahmadi said "They have such high technology they can see an ant on the ground, but they couldn't see a yard full of children?" (Antiwar.com, Dave DeCamp, 09/02/2021.)
Whistleblower Daniel Hale leaked documents in 2015 showing that between 2012 and 2013, 90 percent of civilians perished as a result of U.S. drone strikes. In the process, Hale was sentenced to 45 months in prison. In regards to the Ahmadi family, Joe Biden is either in denial or he's an ultra-nationalist intent on claiming a victory for stopping the "terrorists." To ISIS, Biden said "we are not done with you yet." So, there could be more drone strikes in Afghanistan in the future. And the forever war lingers on.
The withdrawal from Afghanistan was a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't scenario. On the one hand it was long overdue with $2 trillion dollars basically going to waste. But on the other hand it lead to the Taliban being a major threat once again as they retook power in Afghanistan. What is needed is a Left/Progressive movement in Afghanistan that will effectively oppose Taliban rule.