Under the leadership of the Taliban, the forces for national liberation in Afghanistan have launched a “spring offensive” in the north of the country, kicked off by an attack last month in Camp Shaheen which took the lives of more than 100 Afghan security personnel. This new offensive is being called “Operation Omari” in honor of the late Mullah Omar, the leader of the Taliban government in the 1990’s prior to the united $tates invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. Their intention is to seize upon the disarray of the compradore government in Kabul and push the Afghan security forces and united $tates military into retreat as they seize territory in the north. Although it appears to fit the overall annual pattern of conflict, this offensive is coming at the head of a sharp increase in Taliban activity and victories in the north of the country. A former diplomat to the country noted that it sets a new precedent:
The fighting pattern in Afghanistan, at least since the Taliban became resurgent circa 2006, has followed a predictable pattern: a fighting lull in the winter due to inclement weather and the resumption of Taliban attacks in the spring. However, 2016 saw a change in this predictable pattern as the Taliban continued relentless military pressure on the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).
Since issuing this declaration the Taliban has launched a renewed attack on the city of Kunduz—the 5th largest city in the country—in which they had initial success advancing toward the city center, pushing the Afghan security forces into a retreat as they were forced to reconsider how to retake the city. However, on May 12th the Afghan security forces announced the success of an operation to secure the the route leading into Kunduz. Despite this claimed victory, the army faced significant resistance in a difficult battle which had lasted well over a week. This battle has had an extraordinarily demoralizing effect on the resolve of the Afghan security forces who have admitted that they now only control about 60% of the country, and have been continually engaged in tug-of-war battles for the city of Kunduz since 2006. Despite an increasingly desperate attempt to hold onto the country, the people of Afghanistan have the determination to outlast the imperialists.
The Perpetual Campaign
The united $tates, having declared the end of the war in Afghanistan in 2014, has never ceased in their occupation of the country for fear of a repeat of what had happened in Vietnam. They have thus maintained a combined NATO force of over 15,000 soldiers in the country, in order to reinforce the weak compradore government. Although it is a stark decrease from the more than 100,000 soldiers in 2010, it is hardly the “end of the occupation” as they had claimed. Meanwhile the Taliban forces, despite a 16 year war of aggression by the united $tates, have more than tripled since their initial resurgence in 2006, and continued to fight the occupation with an increasing vigor.
We are continually presented with the idea that the resistance to amerikan imperialism in Afghanistan is being worn down, and that the united $tates has achieved a lasting victory in Afghanistan for “peace and democracy” yet all evidence points contrary to this alleged “fact.” It is not just an exodus of NATO ground-forces being demanded by the fighters for national liberation in Afghanistan, but the complete evacuation of western interests from the country. Interests which have drained the country of wealth and created one of the worst humanitarian crises of the century, killing tens of thousands and displacing millions more.
This is a storm the Afghan people have weathered for more than 16 years, suffering all the while. The imperialists have worn their teeth against the mountains of the country for almost two decades with almost no effect on the resolve of the Afghan people toward independence. They have repeatedly boasted on television about the “imminent defeat” of the insurgency, and the hatred of the people toward the “fundamentalists” in the Taliban and other groups. However, first of all they mischaracterize the nature of the struggle being waged in Afghanistan, callously thinking it a matter of religious fundamentalism that the people have taken up arms against them. “It must be their god, he commands them to kill us” they repeat to themselves, forgetting the children they have murdered and families they have displaced—victims of an international armed robbery.
This is a war of national liberation, the war ends when imperialism is cast out. It is true that the insurgents have more or less taken up the task of creating an independent country with a philosophy of “fundamentalist Islam” as they have interpreted it, however what is more pivotal to the success of their struggle, independence or fundamentalism? It is clear to us that the struggle of the Afghan people is rooted in the response to imperialist domination, not some racist caricature of the ignorant peasant who is blinded by religiosity. Our position mirrors that of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), described by Comrade Ganapathi in a 2007 interview:
It would be wrong to describe the struggle that is going on in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Kashmir, Chechnya, and several other countries as a struggle by Islamic fundamentalists or as a resurrection of something long ago theorized by Samuel Huntington as a ‘clash of civilizations’. In essence, notwithstanding the role of Islamic fundamentalists in these struggles, these are all wars of national liberation. Ideologically and politically, we oppose religious fundamentalism of any kind as it obfuscates class distinctions and class struggle and keeps the masses under the yoke of class oppression. However, ‘Islamic fundamentalism’, in my opinion, is an ally of the people in their fight against the fundamentalism of the free market promoted by the US, the EU and other imperialists.
Furthermore that the insistence on the unpopularity of the insurgency is absolutely debased by the sheer influence and strength that it has maintained. The united $tates had flooded the country with more than 100,000 soldiers and was not able to drown out the people’s struggle against their occupation, which grew and continues to grow throughout the occupation. The bold-faced lie of an imminent victory for the forces of imperialism is getting harder to sell with every Kunduz and Camp Shaheen.
An End in Sight
The imperialists have taken up the impossible task of holding back the spring by any means necessary, and the united $tates is now poised to commit up to 5,000 additional soldiers to Afghanistan, with assistance from other NATO allies. However, we have seen this play out before, and are seeing it ongoing all throughout the world where the united $tates is attempting to assert its continued dominance. They cannot maintain their great worldwide occupation, while being decisively turned back all over the world. The Afghan people have humiliated the imperialist forces time and time again, and forced their retreat from the country 3 years ago. Now, disturbed at the result of their attempt at a “graceful withdrawal” the united $tates must now recommit to a fight they had promised the world they had already won. The imperialists have run out of time, they cannot afford to continue throwing themselves into struggle which has no end, yet neither can they afford cost of peace.
Despite their efforts, spring has come to Afghanistan and the world. The false-peace propagated by the imperialists has been demonstrated to have been an illusion, and they have been drawn once again into an open conflict with the forces of national liberation. It may appear counter-intuitive to say that the possible increase in amerikan presence in Afghanistan indicates an end to u.$. Interests in the country, but it has demonstrated a crisis of confidence deep within the foundation of amerikan domination abroad. This was the very thing that they had assured to themselves they would never do again, which Donald Trump was partly elected on a platform of. Yet, now they are coming to terms with the evaporating amerikan influence, which can no longer alone sustain their supremacy. Their increasingly desperate struggle to maintain the empire bears proof of the crisis’ depth, and all evidence points toward the gathering strength of forces for national liberation. It is clear that history is on the side of the Afghan fighters, and that amerikan imperialism is on its way out for good.
- Operation Omari: The Taliban & Afghanistan’s Vicious Cycle of Violence, By Abdullah Sharif (Huffington Post)
- Afghan forces try to push back Taliban from Kunduz city, By Mirwais Harooni (Reuters)
- A timeline of U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan since 2001, By The Associated Press (Military Times)
- Mapping Militant Organizations: The Taliban, (Stanford University)
- Afghanistan: Number of people internally displaced by conflict doubled to 1.2 million in just three years, (Amnesty International)
- Taliban fight: US may send 3,000 more troops to Afghanistan, (BBC)