It is “Black Friday” in amerika, and while consumers enjoy 50% and 60% off new laptops and cell phones, the empire’s army is to thank. Afghanistan sits on an estimated $3 trillion reserve of untapped mineral resources, including vast amounts of lithium—estimated to be one of the largest reserves of lithium in the world. Lithium is used in batteries, particularly those in laptops, cell phones and other electronics, not to mention gold and other precious metals used in delicate circuitry. In fact, economist onlookers have been drooling at the prospect of an amerikan monopoly over those resources for years, hoping for a breakthrough in the amerikan war effort to guarantee them. However, the Afghan resistance is not making that easy for them. Both secular and Islamic resistance to amerikan occupation has rejected all amerikan claims over the resources of Afghanistan, which is particularly troubling since Helmand province is where the bulk of lithium is found. Helmand province is one of the most heavily contested provinces in the country, with the Taliban controlling or contesting nearly all its districts. Black Friday in amerika means airstrikes in Afghanistan, and we would do well to remember that. Amerikans must decide what matters more: a laptop or the lives of Afghan people. The Afghan people have made that determination, it is time for us to get on board.
(Nov. 1) No claim of responsibility has yet been made for the explosion of two fuel tankers in Charikar, a town north of Kabul. Afghan security forces have claimed that a sticky bomb was the cause of the explosion that resulted in 15 deaths and 27 injuries. The incident comes just 8 days after a deadly bombing in the diplomatic district of Kabul.
(Nov. 5) Mawlawi Khosh Mohammad, a member of the Kunduz provincial council, has accused the united $tates of having killed at least 14 civilians in airstrikes conducted in the region. His accusation has come after a flood of complaints from distressed residents who live in fear of amerikan warplanes, the amerikan coalition has responded with an open-ended “investigation” into the claims. Nothing yet has come of it, as is usual with the heel-dragging coalition bureaucrats, who refuse to admit wrongdoing in any case. The coalition has claimed that their operations have lead to the death of 57 Taliban fighters including the “shadow governor” of Chardara.
(Nov. 6) Founder of the Blackwater mercenary company—now known as “Academi”—and general imperialist thug, Erik Prince, has gone on record to say that he believes Trump will come around to his proposed strategy in Afghanistan. Prince believes that a more effective strategy in the occupation of Afghanistan would be the installation of a viceroy, or a colonial military leader, to rule over the country in a direct link with Washington. He states that it would be better for such a military leader to be in charge of his own military force, rather than relying on the united $tates military, and instead use mercenaries for all the “heavy lifting” in the country. He compared the practice to the East India company, although he has said he does not advocate colonialism. Yeah, right. His strategy would essentially set a modern precedent for a private company to entirely rule the affairs of a country, and to strip it of its resources in an effort to pay for its operation. We have seen this before and it is colonialism. However, as absurd as the plan sounds, Prince is convinced that Trump will pivot toward him and has already sent officials to discuss specifics with Prince in prior months. Prince himself was a great contributor to Trump’s campaign, supplying more than $250,000 in 2016. Such a move would deprive the Afghan people of any semblance of democratic rights, of which they have already very little. It seems unlikely such a strategy will be adopted, amerika is cornered, and may resort to unlikely measures.
(Nov. 7) The Islamic State in Afghanistan has claimed responsibility for an attack on the Shamshad TV station in Kabul. Reports stated that two men dressed as police officers entered the building and began throwing hand grenades and shooting at the staff, killing 2 and injuring 20. Shortly after the attack was announced, Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban’s main spokesman, issued an immediate denial of involvement in the attack. This came just after NATO announced a 3,000 soldier increase in the “Resolute Support” mission in Afghanistan.
(Nov. 8) The pentagon has announced several measures to increase troop levels in Afghanistan through the introduction of more combat trainers and support units. This could bring the number of soldiers in the country above 16,000 well above the already broken cap of 15,000 set by Mattis earlier this year. However, as was previously stated by Mattis in a briefing, these caps exist only as temporary guidelines, and do not fix the number of soldiers which can be present in the country. One has to wonder what the point of a cap is at all if not only just to sooth the minds of amerikans ready to pretend we are not at war. Mattis has stated that troop levels will be adjusted on a basis of “need” and not according to an “arbitrary number” set by bureaucrats. What this means is that the united $tates is feeling it necessary to reintroduce large numbers of their own forces into the country to make up for the significant losses suffered by Afghan forces. This is only compounded by lower recruitment rates. Simply put, what the pentagon is avoiding admitting is that they have no plan for disengagement in Afghanistan and no plan for victory. They even admit that they are still locked in a stalemate with the Taliban in the country. They hope that more amerikan soldiers can fix this problem, however if 120,000 amerikan soldiers could not stem the flow of resistance, how can 16,000? This is meant to give the illusion of an energetic fighting force, but what it really tells us is how desperate the situation still is for them.
(Nov. 9) The marine charged with pissing on the bodies of Taliban fighters has just had his case dismissed after the court declared that Commandant Gen. James Amos had “illegally interfered” with the legal process. Staff Sgt. Joseph W. Chamblin, the baby-killer in question, had plead guilty to urinating on the bodies of Taliban fighters in the video that went viral in 2012, he was then reduced in rank and fined $500—a pathetically weak sentence already. Evidence has now surfaced that Amos, in response to the leaked video, had stated he wanted the marines responsible “crushed and discharged” for their actions. Unfortunately for him, that is an example of unlawful command influence, and resulted in the charges being ultimately thrown out as it was determined that no fair trial could be given in a military court. This is an absurd mockery of all false-justice passed on by military courts previous, in which “unlawful command influence” is flagrantly used to ensnare deserters and dissidents. Such was the case with Bowe Bergdahl, who thankfully avoided a life sentence for deserting his post in Afghanistan, and for Chelsea Manning, who spent 6 years in prison before being released in a last-minute action by Obama (the same man who imprisoned her). In both cases the president interfered in the proceedings to give their own opinions on what should be done about them, with Obama referring to Chelsea Manning as “guilty” to officials in private talks and Trump publicly affirming his prior demands that Bergdahl be shot for his crimes, and calling him a traitor. These are both overt interference with the legal proceedings, neither resulted in a mistrial. This decision was a joke, and an obvious ploy to protect fellow war criminals from legal reprisal.
(Nov. 10) Hamid Karzai, former president of Afghanistan, gave an interview with Al Jazeera in which he criticized the current and former leadership of Afghanistan and the united $tates for complicity in war crimes against the Afghan people and collusion with IS forces in the country. When interviewed, he was asked if his government was responsible for war crimes and violations of human rights in the country, which he affirmed. He stated that if it were not for the violations of human rights and war crimes carried out in the country, there would not be the enormous problem in Afghanistan that currently exists, so obviously this must be taken into account. Karzai was, for more than a decade, a tool of amerikan imperialism in Afghanistan, more or less faithfully serving the NATO mission in the country to combat the Taliban. However, recently, and even nearing the end of his presidency, he began challenging the NATO involvement in the country, perhaps seeing the writing on the wall. He even went so far as to ban amerikan troops from several districts where violations were routinely reported.
(Nov. 12) Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, an organization born out of a split in the larger Tahreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, has suffered another split over the tactics of their current leadership. The new group, Hizbul Ahrar, was formed in Nangarhar province of Afghanistan and will be lead by the militant commander Mukarram Khan. Khan has stated that the reason for the split was his disagreement with what he deemed un-Islamic tactics of targeting civilians and unarmed minorities, kidnapping and extortion.
(Nov. 14) The Taliban launched a series of attacks on more than a dozen police checkpoints in the southern province of Kandahar, killing 22 police officers and wounding 15 more. Government forces have stated that 45 Taliban fighters were killed in the attacks and 35 wounded. They have also stated that Taliban forces failed to capture any of the checkpoints in their raids. However, according to the United States’ Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the Afghan security forces continue to lose ground, now controlling less than 60% of the country. The attacks by Taliban forces have not let up, and have only intensified over the past months.
(Nov. 15) The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has reported that Opium production has increased dramatically since 2016, nearly doubling in production. The UN has blamed the Taliban, who are known for controlling the cultivation of the opium poppy in areas they control. It is true that the Taliban has used and in some places expanded the cultivation of poppy in the areas they control in order to fund the war against the united $tates, this was a major turn-around from an organization which nearly wiped out the production of opium/heroin in the country in the 1990’s while commanding state power. Helmand province has become a major center of economic activity for the group, which now contributes 60% of their income through a rapidly increasing agricultural yield of opium poppy. However, it is disingenuous to say that the Taliban are the driving force of the trade when the united $tates has actively opposed the transition of farmers toward the cultivation of other agricultural products. The soil in Afghanistan is not useful for the production of very many internationally competitive cash crops, however it has been noted that it could sustain cotton. The primary reason it has not been transitioned to cotton is the threat it would then pose to the united $tates’ international monopoly on its cultivation, so instead they prefer they cultivate opium poppies. The dramatic increase of opium/heroin production in the country should, as well, be measured with its initial explosion only after the united $tates toppled the Taliban government in 2001. The united $tates and the UN are quite comfortable blaming the Taliban for a problem they started, and continue to blame independent farmers in Afghanistan for the explosion of the heroin trade worldwide. If it were not for the united $tates invasion, there would have been no crisis to begin with. Do not be fooled by amerikans passing off responsibility for their own manufactured crisis.
(Nov. 16) The Islamic State claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack that targeted a gathering of government supporters and regional leaders in Kabul. The attacker approached the hotel where the event was being hosted on foot, detonating a bomb which killed 7 policemen and 2 civilians.
(Nov. 19) The Afghan army is facing difficulty in maintaining their recruitment levels due to a new policy in the Taliban controlled regions which demands a tax be paid by all families who have sons in the army. One family stated that the Taliban demanded a rifle, 7 magazines and $1000 be given over. The tax is meant to dissuade men from joining the Afghan army, and to hopefully inspire defection from current Afghan service members, who will bring stolen equipment to pay the tax if their family cannot do so themselves. There is no reliable information yet on what happens if a family cannot pay the tax, however rumors of mass-murder are at the moment unfounded speculation by NATO, and have no evidence to support them.
(Nov. 19) A series of attacks lead by the Taliban against police checkpoints in western Afghanistan left at least 11 police dead. Police stated that the checkpoints had been destroyed and a humvee burnt in addition to police casualties, they stated that 8 Taliban fighters were also killed in the attacks. This comes on the crest of an increase in violent attacks in Farah province, which is becoming a hotly contested region for Afghan security forces, struggling to maintain control over the province and its districts.
(Nov. 22) Amerikan forces claim to have struck against suspected drug labs in Helmand province. A local official told Xinhua news “U.S. fighters bombed the Taliban-run heroin labs in Bahramcha area of Dishu districts in Helmand province on Tuesday night, as a result 44 drug smugglers were killed and their heroin labs completely destroyed.” This is the second in 3 days that the united $tates has targeted suspected drug labs, killing those believed to be involved in the manufacture of heroin. These attacks against suspected drug labs and smugglers are an embarrassing and disgusting practice. If it were even possible for the united $tates to confirm that those targets which are struck belong to the Taliban and are operated with the intention of distributing drugs, this does not speak for the many civilian components which go into the productive chain. Targeting the “economic foundation” of the Taliban necessarily means targeting the farmers and civilians involved in producing opium poppy or the finished drugs. Nowhere else is it acceptable to deal with potential drug smugglers with airstrikes and indiscriminate bombing. These attacks, assuming they are even launched against the sources of heroin production in Helmand province, are criminal and must be opposed.
Amerikan Anti-War Update
There continues to be silence among the amerikan anti-war left on the events in Afghanistan, with no publicly advertised events against the imperialist onslaught there. It appears that amerikans are unaware that there is even a war being fought, or that we have any business opposing it. Resistance to the ongoing war effort remains online, individual or confined to local coalitions in a very select few cities. The demonstrations following November 4th have done little to follow up on the anti-war message they originally towed, and have generally resulted in low-energy demonstrations which are kept afloat mainly through the clout of organizations involved within them. What remains of an anti-war movement is hollow and lacks any real bite which can push public opinion one way or the other. It is the responsibility of anti-imperialists to take the initiative in rebuilding a popular anti-war movement.
As always, we implore anyone who has any information on anti-war actions and committees in any locale, or some suggestions to improve this series to email us via the information on our contact page. Additionally, any stories you feel should be mentioned in the next update are definitely welcome.