Ignoring the Original Sin in Afghanistan

Afghan women, 1950s
Afghan women, 1950s, posted on Twitter by Hadi Albahra

by Jeff Klein

Originally published in Dorchester People for Peace Update, August 13, 2021

As the corrupt US-installed government and its pretend army collapses even faster than predicted, the roots of the current crisis, which go back much further than the US invasion of 2001, are seldom remembered today and almost never reported in the media.

The US did more to destroy women’s’ rights in Afghanistan than the Taliban, and calls to “protect Afghan women” now are ignorant of history at best, purely hypocritical at worst.  During the 1960s and 70s Afghanistan had a secular-leaning and modernizing government, first under a monarchy and then under a republic after the king was overthrown. Toward the end of the 1970s a left-wing party took control, which was eventually supported by Soviet troops. Women’s rights, healthcare and access to education made enormous strides during this period. Even before the Soviets entered Afghanistan, the US, under Democratic Pres. Carter decided to support Muslim fundamentalist resistance to the government, in alliance with long-time allies Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Billions of dollars’ worth of weapons and thousands of radical Arab Islamic extremists – including Osama Bin Laden – poured into the country and eventually succeeded in compelling Soviet troops to withdraw in late 1988.

US Military Presence in the Middle East
US Military Presence in the Middle East

This was considered a great Cold War victory by the US. Carter’s advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski later recalled: “What is more important in world history? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some agitated Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?” Despite the loss of Soviet support, the leftist government of Afghanistan held on until 1992; the Taliban did not take full control until 1996. Contrast this with the rapid collapse of the US puppet regime even before the US has fully withdrawn. Meanwhile, Brzezinski’s “agitated Muslims” as al-Qaeda went on to carry out attacks around the world, including 9/11, and nearly conquered Iraq and Syria. Twenty years after the US 2001 invasions of Afghanistan and later Iraq, the US has troops and bases in nearly every country in the Middle East, often fighting the same forces we initially supported in Afghanistan.

Almost exactly a century ago, long before the US invasion of Afghanistan, another US intervention took place with its allies to overthrow the new revolutionary government in Russia. The general commanding the US troops in Siberia concluded in his memoirs: “. . .there isn’t a nation on earth that would not resent foreigners sending troops into their country, for the purpose of putting this or that faction in charge.” Here is a lesson our elites refuse to learn, because the alternative is to give up on empire. Many pundits in the MSM, including the always-hawkish Washington Post, are beginning to editorialize about “Who Lost Afghanistan,” echoing the cry of “Who Lost China” near the start of the Cold War.