IN AFGHANISTAN, NATO HAS NO MILITARY GOALS
By Angela Klein
[This article published in: SoZ-Sozialistische Zeitung, September 2009 is translated from the German on the Internet, http://www.vsp-vernetzt.de/sozkoeln/index2.htm.]
70 years after the attack on Poland triggering the Second World War, Germany was again searching for a role as a military super-power. This - not "defense of our freedom at Hindukusch" - is the motive why German soldiers must risk their lives in Afghanistan and 500 billion euro in tax money are burned up every year for this war.
At Hindukusch, there is nothing of importance for the German population, not raw materials, trading partners or vacation areas (these would certainly not be reasons for waging war). The German army is only at Hindukusch because Germany thinks it has to gain military significance by chasing after the adventures of the US.
The US always claims to be waging a war there against terror. The training camps of Al Qaida that allowed the Taliban are long destroyed and abandoned. Al Qaida operates today from Pakistan. There the group is hardly troubled by the Americans. Their war in Afghanistan has long had other goals that involve world power games, not fighting terrorism.
In the last eight years, 1300 soldiers of the intervention troops lost their lives to the Taliban, not to mention the casualties of the Afghan civilian population. The Taliban believe in an extremely reactionary, patriarchal and anti-women interpretation of their religion and idea of society. But don't the Saudis do this while enjoying the best relations to "Big Brother"? The mistake that the Taliban make in the eyes of the US is that they do not want to be its vassal state. The US that initially heavily armed the Taliban began to see them as an archenemy when they refused to agree to build the oil pipeline from the central Asian republics to the Arabian Sea. This measure was directed against Russia. At that time, Hamid Karsai was an advisor of the oil conglomerate Unocal. For his compliance, he was then made state president after the US carried out a "regime change."
Nevertheless the pipeline was not built. Still British generals say NATO must remain in the country for 30-40 years. The German minister of war speaks of 5-10 years. What is now the goal of the war?
The British supreme commander says: "Afghanistan should become a stable, democratic state" (Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, 8/13/2009). If that is a reason for war, NATO could declare war on half the world. NATO has also magnificently failed. The presence of NATO has neither stabilized nor democratically organized conditions in the country. Population sectors open initially to the western invasion are turning today to the Taliban. The Karsai government is hated as never before on account of its corruption, cronyism and the brutality of warlords supporting the government.
However the West supports the Karsai government. In the name of democracy, the West condones in Afghanistan what it usually severely criticizes. In the 2004 election, observers reported irregularities that were passed over. At that time, 7 million voters were registered. This time there are 17 million with far more women than men registered in many polling stations (Neue Zuricher Zeitung newspaper, 8/9/2009). While election fraud was charged, western media reported almost exclusively of attempts of the Taliban to torpedo the elections. "All of us must gloss over these elections," the NZZ quotes a western observer from Afghanistan. Is there really no alternative?
Unbiased observers like Thomas Rustig who advised the German government in Kabul up to 2006 warn against seeing the Taliban only as a terror organization. "Taliban is a generic term for very different autonomous groups united by one goal: driving the occupiers from the land. Rustig speaks of rebels, not terrorists, and writes: "The rebellion has the potential of becoming a broad national Afghan movement beyond ethnic borders and religious differences (www.aan-afghanistan.org).
NATO troops have long been part of the problem, not part of the solution. The rebels are stronger and more active today than ever before since 2001. The number of casualties on the side of NATO increases. July was the bloodiest month for the US since the beginning of the war.
There is no longer a concrete war goal. NATO is only intent on being militarily present in this region to oppose Russia and China. This is in fact a "perpetual task." Should soldiers die for that? Two-thirds of the population in Germany disapproves the war in Afghanistan. In the past, the German government was not disturbed. But that could change by increasing the public pressure that young men not be drawn into the war.