Two decades ago, the United States invaded Afghanistan, with the support and involvement of Canada and other NATO allies. It was the start of the “War on Terror,” waged in part under the pretext of humanitarian intervention to “liberate” the people of Afghanistan from the Taliban and bring peace, democracy and stability to the region.
It is abundantly clear that US imperialism and its allies have utterly failed to realize any of those stated objectives. Conservative estimates are that nearly 175,000 Afghan people have been killed as a result of the invasion and 20-year occupation, including at least 50,000 civilians. Nearly 7 million people remain displaced. Economic development ranks among the lowest in the world, with one-quarter of the population officially unemployed and more than half live under the poverty line of one dollar per day.
Today, as defeated imperialist forces scramble to leave, the people of Afghanistan remain in a situation of endless suffering.
The issue is not, as some claim, that the US did not do enough to protect the Afghan people’s rights – the issue is that US and imperialist intervention has been single-mindedly dedicated to undermining those rights. The very forces that the US and its allies identified as enemies in 2001 were themselves created and nurtured by previous US administrations, with the purpose of destabilizing and overthrowing the progressive popular government which came to power in Afghanistan through the April (Saur) Revolution of 1978.
In its rush to halt and roll back progressive reforms in the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan – such as democracy, land reform and women’s equality – US imperialism laid the foundation for decades of brutality and suffering.
The Communist Party of Canada warned of this in October 2001, immediately after the launch of the invasion of Afghanistan. “We reject as completely false and hypocritical the claims by the Bush and Blair governments that their military actions are “humanitarian” in nature. The reality is that the Taliban and Osama bin Laden are largely the creations of massive CIA intervention in Afghanistan during the 1980s. The “Northern Alliance” forces opposing the Taliban were also heavily backed by US imperialism during their war against the Afghan government during the 1980s and proved to be just as reactionary and undemocratic as the Taliban during their period in power. The idea that further imperialist intervention in the region can bring anything but new disasters for the people is utterly false.”
To justify the invasion and occupation, government in the US, Canada and other NATO countries have promoted the spread of Islamophobia and racism. The vast range of “security” laws that these governments introduced have been used to target and oppress Muslims and racialized people in the first place, as well as general dissent.
The Communist Party stands in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan as they face new and exacerbated problems, especially for women and refugees. We also warn that the US and its allies will not cease their interference and aggression in the region. The imperialist threat of war, destabilization and oppression has not diminished – it must continue to be exposed and opposed.
The Communist Party of Canada calls on all labour and progressive movements to help rebuild and strengthen the peace movement in this country. Working people must demand a new, independent foreign policy based on peace, disarmament and international cooperation.