Tag: Taliban

What Oil Politics, Taliban, Islamophobia Mean to India

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The media must reveal the truth and help weak states rise above a crisis, not play up divisive forces.

By Ram Puniyani

The withdrawal of the United States Army from Afghanistan has brought the Taliban to power. The scenario in Afghanistan is alarming as minorities, and others, desperately attempt to leave the country. The record of the previous Taliban rule is flashing before the world, particularly the oppression of women and imposition of their version of Sharia law. It is their demolition of the Bamiyan Buddha that tells the world what the Taliban stands for. Some hope the exit of foreign powers will change Taliban rule, but events so far make this expectation ring hollow.

Regardless of how Afghans plot their future, it is most surprising that a section of the Indian media—which many disparagingly identify as godi media—has taken to non-stop coverage of the Taliban takeover. They are toeing the ruling party’s line, spending a significant share of airtime on perceived threats to India from the Taliban rule in Afghanistan.

These anchors on TV never spare a chance to criticise those who “felt the arrival of the Taliban in Afghanistan will not affect India”. The Special Cell of the Delhi Police recently arrested six suspected terrorists and alleged that they were trained in Pakistan to conduct terrorist strikes in India. Their alleged motive was to thwart the democratic process in Uttar Pradesh, where elections are due next year. The TV channels immediately caught on to this episode, claiming it connects with events in Afghanistan.

Other than attacking those critical of the ruling government, TV channels were busy for a month presenting viewers with the horrors Taliban rule entails. Their concerns may be valid, but the cheek-by-jowl coverage the Taliban is getting is out of proportion. They make it seem like the only problem Indians face is the Taliban coming to power in Afghanistan. For a large section of Indians, growing unemployment, the farmer movement, the rising atrocities against Dalits and women, and price rise are primary concerns. This narrative is absent from the media. Nor do they provide coverage to the intimidation of religious minorities in India, and even if they do, there is no attempt to be objective. Instead, this section of the media presents the religious minorities themselves as the culprits. The ‘hate Muslims’ sentiment has strengthened ever since the Taliban came to power.

The language in the media portrays the Taliban as representatives of all Muslims anywhere, as though it embodies some universally accepted Islamic values. The aim is to cast a deep shadow on Indian Muslims, increasing their alienation and marginalisation. The 2016 report, What Muslims Want, the most extensive research of British Muslims ever conducted, found that nine of ten British Muslims reject terrorism outright.” However, this powerful section of the media is unconcerned with the politics behind the Taliban’s coming to power. It does not bother to introspect why countries with large Muslim populations, such as Indonesia, do not have similar politics.

If the mainstream media correlates fundamentalist Islam represented by the Taliban or Al-Qaeda, and the politics of the last five decades in the oil-rich parts of the world, it would give away the truth. However, that would not suit the sectarian politics in India, and it would challenge the economic and political interests of corporates who control this media.

Fact is, western imperialism is out to control and plunder the resources of the world. In the last few decades after the colonial era ended, the United States and its cohort sought to control oil resources and markets worldwide. In a way, the people of West and Central Asia, rich in oil and other natural resources, suffer due to their wealth. America funded youth training in the retrograde version of Islam in Af-Pak, leading to the mujahideen and the Taliban. During the Cold War, it perpetrated imperialist designs in the name of a ‘free world’, which meant opposing communism. The Soviet Union supported several national liberation struggles, which the United States did not want. The war in Vietnam is the best example of how America pursued its anti-communist agenda through waging wars far from its borders.

After the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the United States intensified its support to local fundamentalist groups. The Saudi regime helped train the youth, though mostly America supported the Mujaheddin, the Taliban, and even Al-Qaeda. The syllabus was prepared in Washington, America funded it, and youngsters got lured into fundamentalist schools where it was taught. It was a close collaboration between the CIA and the ISI of Pakistan, which indoctrinated the youth and gave them sophisticated weapons.

Their goal was to ally with the Afghan forces to defeat the USSR. Recall the 1985 visit of hardcore Islamists to the White House, where Ronald Regan hosted them. He brought them to the Oval Office and said, “These gentlemen are the moral equivalent of America’s founding fathers.” Let us be blunt: The CIA’s machinations created the world’s deadliest terrorists. To cut a long story short, Hillary Clinton, when she was US Secretary of State, accepted in an interview that America “funded Taliban and Al Qaida”.

West Asia is a victim of the oil and wealth lust of American imperialism. The majority of the victims of Islamist terrorists were Muslims. Pakistan lost close to 70,000 people due to terror strikes, including a former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, to such an attack. Still, the American media coined the phrase ‘Islamic terrorism’ after the 9/11 attack, as if events unfolding in Afghanistan or Iraq or Egypt were unconnected with recent American history. The global media picked up the phrase uncritically. In India, the Muslim community saw a further dip in its social and economic capital. An outcome of American policies was that they added to the discrimination of this community around the world.

It is the responsibility of the media to unravel the truth, no matter how complex. Of course, there are excellent books on the topic, only if members of the godi media care to read them! Their task is to help a weak state rise above its crisis, not to play into the hands of divisive forces.

The author is a social activist and commentator. The views are personal.

Source- newsclick.in, 24 September 2021

REVIEW: Turning Point – 9/11 And The War On Terror, English (Netflix) – Ground Zero to Kabul International Airport

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Source- Netflix

 

By Neeraj Nanda

MELBOURNE, 3 September 2021: 9/11 – Released by Netflix just a few days before the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the five episodes of Session 1, chronicle the chain of events through twenty years encompassing America’s ‘War on terror’ declared by President Bush after the 9/11 attacks and ending with the withdrawal of US and allied forces from Afghanistan on 31st August 2021, after the swift Taliban power grab in Kabul on 15 August 2021.

The around one hour each episode namely The System Was Blinking Red, A Place of Danger, The Dark Side, The Good War, and The Graveyard of Empires will keep you engaged as never before. You already know many of the incidents, but their minute details and direct connection to the Taliban’s back in power after being ousted by US forces in 2001, is a gripping tale which this series details. Obviously, like a history book, this series has its own selection of material. There is rare footage and details. Not many of us know President Bush was authorized by Congress by 420 to 1 to invade Afghanistan. The one lady who voted no, parts of her speech are there which seem to be prophetic.

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Source- Netflix

It’s chilling from the very start. The 9/11 attacks on American soil and President Bush is informed while he is visiting a school. The subsequent chaos and the decision to invade Afghanistan followed by the collapse of the Taliban regime there, the roots of Al Quida and Osama bin Laden and the fight of the US-backed Islamist Muhaiddin through Pakistan against the Soviet’s forms the background of subsequent episodes. The Soviets left in 1989.
The ensuing civil war between Islamist Mujahideen factions after the fall of the pro-Soviet leftist Najibullah regime saw the consolidation of the Taliban as they moved into Kabul to capture power. The determination to remove the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul by supporting Islamist factions is seen by many as deepening the roots of the Taliban in the country.

The unfolding human tragedy of 9/11 killing 3,000 people is reflected by interviews with traumatized survivors and footage of the New York attacks. The agony, shock, and disbelief are visible. The series tells us a lot. Intelligence gaps that helped the hijackers, surveillance, enhanced interrogation, Islamophobia, the Afghan and Iraq wars, etc. are honestly described.

Interviews with Mujahideen leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar reveal the extent of US involvement in Afghanistan’s anti-Soviet war. How the use of US-made Stringer missiles changed the course of the war is revealing. How some operations antagonized common people. And, how later the two pro-US regimes in Kabul were corrupt leading the people supporting the Taliban, speak for themselves.

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Source-Netflix

In fact, it’s no easy task to sum up (as in this series also) the spate of events over twenty years. There are facts missing and gaps in the five episodes. Also, many related documents that could be relevant sources remain classified. President Trump signed the agreement with the Taliban to withdraw the US forces, ignoring the Hamid Karzai government and other regional players, leaving the actual withdrawal under President Biden’s Presidency.

Director Brian Knappenberger’s dossier of the 20 years (starting with the 9/11 attacks) of US-led Western involvement in Afghanistan till 31 August 2021, no doubt, looks honest and critical. After two decades the Taliban is back in power, the very force which the US ousted. A closure of this ongoing saga is yet to happen.

” 9/11 was the most transformative historical moment of my life. It changed nearly everything I thought about my country – about who we were, how we interacted with the world and what we meant to people beyond our borders. Within the United States it changed how it felt to be an American, it changed our societal architecture, the way we got on airplanes, challenged our civil liberties, transformed our police departments, and eroded trust in our institutions and media. It was the beginning of modern history.

Back then, standing in the dusty rubble of broken mud brick, it seemed clear that rebuilding Afghanistan would be challenging. But on that day, nobody could’ve anticipated that the war would go on for 20 years, or that it would end with the Taliban again seizing control of Afghanistan. Now, as US troops are leaving on the 20th anniversary, this is the moment to take a deep breath, step back and ask in the most honest possible way; how did that day change us?”, says Brian Knappenberger in a statement.

Episodes Descriptions

Episode 1: The System Was Blinking Red

On September 11, 2001, hijackers crashed a plane into the World Trade Center’s North Tower. When a second plane crashed into the South Tower over an hour later, it was clear it was a terrorist attack. Who attacked the U.S. and why? Guided by commentary from former FBI and military officials, as well as survivors, episode one highlights the roots leading to the attack — from the 1979 Cold War invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union when the CIA provided arms and support for the Afghan mujahideen fighters, to the emergence of Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda as they declared jihad against the U.S. ten years later. Following the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, terrorist attacks against U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998, and the U.S. naval ship Cole in 2000 — U.S. intelligence agencies were awash in red alert chatter about an impending attack.

Episode 2: A Place of Danger

Shortly after the second World Trade Center hit on 9/11, a third hijacked plane crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Passengers on the fourth plane, United 93, thwarted that attack by forcing the plane down in Pennsylvania. With thousands of U.S. civilians killed, including over 400 first responders, President George W. Bush and his administration immediately began planning a military response. Featuring never before seen commentary from White House Counsel for Pres. Bush, Alberto Gonzalez; Ret. US Army General, David Petraeus; Chief of Staff for Pres. Bush, Andrew Card; U.S. Rep Barbara Lee; Taliban spokesperson, Suhail Shaheen; and Afghan politician, Fawzia Koofi — the episode highlights how Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force almost unanimously. The U.S. military invaded Afghanistan with the aim of defeating the ultra-fundamentalist Taliban regime that had given Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda safe harbor.

Episode 3: The Dark Side

The U.S. military set up a detention center in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, where the prisoners were called “detainees” and brought to trial by military commissions without the protections of the Constitution or the Geneva Conventions. This included “enhanced interrogation techniques,” i.e. torture, to elicit information from the prisoners. White House Counsel for Pres. Bush, Alberto Gonzalez; former director of the Criminal Investigative Task Force at Guantanamo Detention Camp, Mark Fallon; New York Times journalist, Carol Rosenberg; and, Director of the ACLU National Security Project, Hina Shamsi offer further insight into the conditions at Guantanamo Bay and the National Security Agency’s extensive and warrantless wiretaps of civilian cell phone metadata — activities that violated the Fourth Amendment.

Episode 4: The Good War

The Bush administration instigated a military invasion of Iraq in 2003 based on lies about Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction. Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were over in May 2003 — they were wrong. Former FBI Special Agent, Ali Soufan; former U.S. Army Captain, Brittany Ramos Debarros; former Vice President of Afghanistan, Ahmad Zia Massoud; and, former Mujahideen leader, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar shed light on the continued violence; rampant corruption and re-emergence of the Taliban in Afghanistan; and, the promise of President Obama in 2008 to end the “bad war” in Iraq and get the “good war” in Afghanistan right.

Episode 5: The Graveyard of Empires

President Obama ordered Guantanamo to be shut down in 2009, though it remains open today. In this final episode, Ret. General, David Petraeus; Washington Post investigative journalist, Craig Whitlock; Washington Post former war correspondent, Rajiv Chandresekaran; Pakistani politician, Hini Rabbani Khar; and, Afghan drone strike victims illustrate how the U.S. military strategy in Afghanistan pivoted towards supporting the Afghan army; how a covert CIA-run operation took out Bin Laden in Pakistan; and how the U.S. continued a campaign of drone strikes against alleged terrorist targets in Afghanistan, killing numerous civilians and inspiring more followers to embrace terrorism. Declaring that he would halt the Afghanistan mess in 2020, President Trump endorsed a deal that surrendered to Taliban demands without receiving concessions in return. And, just weeks after US troops leave the country, the Afghan government collapses and the Taliban are once again in control.

KEY INFORMATION:

Released: September 1, 2021
Format: 5 x 60-minute episodes
Director: Brian Knappenberger
Executive Producers: Brian Knappenberger, Eve Marson, Lowell Bergman
Co-Executive Producer: Mohammed Ali Naqvi

MUSINGS: Afghanistan in my album and later…

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Afghanistan stamps in my album.

By Neeraj Nanda

MELBOURNE, 22 August 2021: Afghanistan is making news for reasons we all know. In a social media-driven scenario, the Taliban takeover and the news of the demise of superpower United States are on everyone’s lips. But, in my childhood days, Afghanistan was a rather obscure place from where people came to India for trade or to sell dry fruits (Pista-Badam). In fact, sweet ‘Chaman’ grapes (quite longish) were available in Indian markets. Probably, King Zahir Shah ruled Afghanistan then. I did not even know that.

The knowledge about this land-locked country is immense these days. But this was not always so. My knowledge of Afghanistan probably came first from Bimal Ray’s movie ‘Kabuliwala’ which was based on Rabindranath Tagore’s story of an Afghan ‘Pathan’ who comes to India to sell dry-fruit and grapples with unintended issues. Seeing a small girl in Calcutta, he remembers his small daughter back home. His longing for Afghanistan and his daughter disturbs him. Much more happens. The song ‘Ae mare Payare Watan…’ sung by Manna Dey, is to this date remains a landmark song of the Indian film industry. Veteran actor Balaraj Sahani plays the ‘Kabuliwala’ in the film, made in Bengali and Hindi. This was my Afghan fixation for many years.

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A scene from ‘Kabuliwalla’ with Balraj Sahani as the Pathan.

As I grew older, I became a postage stamps collector. I had some faded Afghan stamps. I saw some pictures and personalities of Afghanistan. I learned that their currency was ‘Afghani’, but had no idea what language or languages people there spoke. My stamps were my Afghanistan in an album. Little did I know, how things will unfold, dramatically in the coming years.

As a student at Delhi University, I heard the Afghan King, Zahir Shah had been overthrown, in a bloodless coup on July 17, 1973. The leader of the coup, General Mohammad Daud Khan (the king’s brother-in-law) took power. Those were the days of the ‘Cold War’ between the United States and the Soviet Union. Daud was later overthrown by Noor Md. Taraki (Leftist/Communist) of the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) creating pushing the country more into the Soviet Union’s orbit. This happened on April 27, 1978, called the ‘Saur Revolution. ‘Saur’ is the second month of the solar Hijri calendar.

I thought Afghanistan was marching towards progress. Later Noor Md. Taraki was overthrown by Hafissula Amin (leftist-PDPA- Khalaq faction) and Amin was subsequently ousted from power by Babrak Kamal, leader of the Parcham faction of the PDPA. Leftist students at Delhi University talked of a progressive/socialist transformation in Afghanistan. This govt faced opposition from Islamists and Soviet troops marched into the country. The West called it ‘Occupation’. China opposed Soviet troops in Afghanistan. Many decades of war followed with the Islamist Mujahidin backed by the US fought the ‘Soviet Occupation’.

In those days a pro-govt. newspaper ‘Kabul New Times’ was published in Kabul. They needed a journalist based in Kabul. Someone suggested I should go. I was reluctant. Two journalists from Delhi went and worked in the newspaper. One came back disappointed and politically dejected.

A seminar was organized in Delhi University’s Arts Faculty to oppose the ‘Soviet Occupation of Afghanistan’. Someone wanted to ask a question but was shouted down with slogans of ‘KGB agent down down’. There were scuffles and the seminar ended abruptly. Such was the politically tense atmosphere in the university.

Later, Soviet troops were withdrawn from Afghanistan when President Gorbachev launched ‘Perestroika’, but the leftist Najibullah government ruled another 4 years (May 4, 1986, until April 15, 1992) battling the US and Pakistan backed Mujahideen. The Mujahideen captured power with Rabbani taking power, who was later overthrown by the Taliban, and Najibullah and his brother who were in the UN compound tried to escape in an Indian plane, were on way to the airport, were captured and hanged to death by the Taliban, who took power.

After 9/11, the US bombed Afghanistan and removed the Taliban from power in 2011. US and Western troops moved in with Hamid Karzai (educated in India) in power and later Ashraf Ghani, who escaped from Kabul on 15 August 2021 and the Taliban came back to power after 20 years as the US troops quit Afghanistan. The US talked to the Taliban in Doha and an agreement was signed for US withdrawal ignoring the Ghani regime and other powers in the region.

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IAF C17 Globemaster carrying Indian nationals from Kabul after the Taliban takeover in Kabul. Photo-ANI

Three trillion dollars were spent on the 20 years of the US war in Afghanistan. It is one of the world’s smallest economies and the poorest country with about 30 million people. The 300,000 plus US-funded and equipped Afghan Army melted like ice and the Taliban took power fast. The blame game is on. It is being said this Taliban is a different one. Well, one must wait and see.

I still have my stamp album with me with the few Afghan stamps. I am still humming ‘Ae Mare Pyare Watan…”, as I read the latest Afghan news on social media. Everyone has become an Afghan expert. No shortage of specialist articles. The ‘Graveyard of Empires’ is news again.

India: Women’s groups, NGOs to observe ‘Afghan Solidarity Day’

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By SAT News Desk/Counterview Desk

India: Several campaign organizations*, including women’s groups, giving a national call to organize Afghan solidarity demonstrations across India on August 23, making a direct attack on the Taliban takeover, have said that, today, “the liberties and lives of Afghanistan’s feminists, human rights activists, care workers, welfare workers are all in especial danger from the Taliban. Refugees fleeing the Taliban are risking their lives in conditions that display their desperation.”
Contrary to the view taken by several liberal analysts that this time the Taliban aren’t the same type of Islamic fundamentalists that had taken over the country two decades ago, these organizations regret, “Refugees face apathy, as well as hostility and violence in countries where they are seeking refuge.”

Especially criticizing the Government of India for not making its stand on the Taliban clear, they point to the manner in which “leaders of the ruling BJP and the Hindu-supremacist RSS have unleashed a hate campaign against India’s Muslims, equating all Muslims and Islam itself with the regressive and oppressive Taliban.”

They note: “The government has shamefully referenced the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which goes against the Indian Constitution’s assurance of equal citizenship to all irrespective of faith or other factors, and announced that it will ‘prioritize’ Hindu and Sikh refugees from Afghanistan.”
Text:
The end of a twenty-year-old US occupation has brought no relief for the people of Afghanistan. The takeover of the country by the Taliban has created a situation of chaos, crisis, uncertainty, and fear. The last time the Taliban was in power, it had unleashed a reign of terror, arbitrary and brutal diktats and punishments, and complete loss of personal freedom. Desperate to escape such a fate and fearful for their freedom, rights, and lives, thousands of Afghan people are fleeing the country.

Inside Afghanistan, every day brings news of new Taliban atrocities. The Taliban has massacred people of the Hazara minority community, killed the kin of a Deutsche Welle journalist, forced a woman TV anchor to be replaced by a man, is conducting a door-to-door witch-hunt and abduction of dissidents; is violently attacking journalists, killing at least one, and has shot dead protestors in the streets. The Taliban has declared that it is their authorities who will decide how far women can study, what subjects they can study, what jobs they can hold; and what they must wear. Already reports are coming in of Taliban attacks on women.

Displaying incredible courage, women are protesting with handmade posters on the streets of Kabul; and Afghan men and women all over the country are protesting the Taliban takeover with Afghan flags in their hands, facing Taliban bullets in the process. It is these fighting democratic people of Afghanistan who need us to extend solidarity and amplify their voice.

Many international actors bear responsibility for Afghanistan’s tragic fate today. The Soviet military intervention in 1979 at the behest of the then Afghan government, made Afghanistan the scene for Cold War competition between the Soviet Union and the USA. The US pumped money and arms to back the mujahideen forces against the Soviet-backed army. It was in this backdrop that the Taliban could emerge. In 2001, the US and its allies again led a military invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, in the name of liberating Afghanistan’s people and especially its women from Taliban rule and destroying the Taliban and other terrorist outfits based in the country.

The latest developments have thoroughly exposed the lies that served as pretexts for the invasion and occupation. Under the US occupation, Afghan people were subject to bombings, drone strikes, and arbitrary raids and killings by the occupying armies and their hired private mercenaries. The US occupation actually enabled the Taliban to consolidate itself. The US, having decided to exit Afghanistan, set up unilateral negotiations with the Taliban, excluding its allies as well as the Afghan government.
This culminated in a US-Taliban pact which made it clear that for all purposes the US was transferring power to the Taliban. With the mask of “war on terror”, “war for democracy” and “war to protect Afghan women” having come off, the occupation stands exposed as a cynical and violent imperialist exercise intended to subjugate Afghanistan and serve US interests.

Today, the liberties and lives of Afghanistan’s feminists, human rights activists, care workers, welfare workers are all in especial danger from the Taliban. Refugees fleeing the Taliban are risking their lives in conditions that display their desperation. Among refugees hanging onto the wings of a place leaving Kabul, two men – a 20-year-old football player and a 25-year-old doctor – fell to their deaths. Refugees face apathy, as well as hostility and violence in countries where they are seeking refuge.

The Government of India is yet to make its stand on the Taliban clear. Meanwhile, leaders of the ruling BJP and the Hindu-supremacist RSS have unleashed a hate campaign against India’s Muslims, equating all Muslims and Islam itself with the regressive and oppressive Taliban. The government has also shamefully referenced the CAA which goes against the Indian constitution’s assurance of equal citizenship to all irrespective of faith or other factors and announced that it will “prioritize” Hindu and Sikh refugees from Afghanistan.

Election Commission of India must ensure that Afghanistan and Taliban are not used as pretexts for hate speech during campaigns
We in India who resist the BJP-RSS agenda of imposing regressive and oppressive bans on what we can eat, think, write, sing, and speak, and whom we can love, and the violent lynch mobs who enforce these bans, stand with the people of Afghanistan in their struggle to assert their right to live and take decisions freely. We who defend India’s Constitution and flag against the RSS and BJP’s attacks, stand with Afghan people as they defend their country’s Constitution and flag and demand that only a constitutionally elected parliament be allowed to pass or amend laws or national symbols.

We demand that:

The UN, the international community, and all countries including India refuse to recognize the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, and instead support the demand raised by Afghan civil society and women’s groups that “Any change of political order or the constitution must happen through elections and by the will of the people of Afghanistan, not through the threat of violence, or through war and military intervention,” and “drafting, legislating and implementing the civil and penal laws shall be based on the Constitution of Afghanistan, the national parliament shall be the sole legislating body, and the creation of any non-elected body, including the Supreme Theological Council of the Taliban, and the practicing of any unconstitutional power shall be outlawed.”

An international tribunal is set up to ensure justice for the war crimes committed by the US and NATO in the course of the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan.

The UN Human Rights Council must initiate a fact-finding mission to identify and bring to justice all perpetrators of atrocities and violence against Afghan civilians – including the occupying armed forces as well as the Taliban and other armed groups. Taliban leaders must also be brought to justice for every atrocity they inflicted on women and minorities in the past.
United Nations Security General, the UN Human Rights Council, international human rights organizations and the international community must act to ensure that Afghan women’s rights groups are the center of any negotiations and other processes to ensure a just peace and secure the rights of all Afghan people.

The Government of India ceases any attempt to distinguish between Afghan refugees on the basis of faith or identity and instead open the country’s doors to offer safe refuge to any Afghan refugees in need.
The Government of India waste no time in bringing back all Indian citizens from Afghanistan (while the embassy staff has been brought back, hundreds of others still remain stranded without any clear exit plan, support, or guidance). The Government of India must also make every effort to bring Afghan students enrolled in Indian educational institutions to Indian soil.
The Government of India must ensure the safety of all Afghan nationals residing in India.
The Election Commission of India must ensure that Afghanistan and the Taliban are not used as pretexts for hate speech during campaigns for state elections in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab that are due soon.

We also appeal to the Indian people and people’s movement groups to:
On August 23, organize solidarity actions (demonstrations, sit-ins, vigils) in all states with Afghan people’s struggle for freedom, peace, and justice.
Extend help, cooperation, and a warm welcome to Afghan refugees.
Reject and resist all attempts to stoke Islamophobia in India using the Taliban as a pretext.

*All India Progressive Women’s Association, All India Students’ Association, All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch, Anhad, Communalism Combat, Khwaja Ahmed Abbas Memorial Trust, Muslim Women’s Forum, National Federation of Indian Women, One Billion Rising India, Sabrang India

Source- counterview.net, August 21, 2021.

VIEWPOINT: The legacy of failure in Afghanistan starts in 1979, not 2001

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A Soviet Junior Lieutenant snaps a picture of 3 other Soviets with an officer in the Afghan Army in front of the Buddhas of Bamiyan in Hazarajat, Afghanistan. The site was destroyed by the Taliban in 2001. Photo- Facebook (Tkatch)

By: James W. Carden*

A decade ago, John Lamberton Harper, a professor of US Foreign Policy and European Studies at Johns Hopkins in Bologna, Italy published an indispensable history of the first cold war (The Cold War, Oxford University Press, 2011) in which he described the origins of what became known as “the Carter doctrine.”

The Carter Doctrine pledged US military action against any state that attempted to gain control of the Persian Gulf. As Quincy Institute president Andrew Bacevich has pointed out it “implied the conversion of the Persian Gulf into an informal American protectorate” and set the stage for repeated (and disastrous) interventions over the coming decades. Among other things, the Carter Doctrine, the brainchild of Carter’s national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, caused the US to ally with primitive Saudi Arabia at the expense of manageable relations with civilized Persia.

It is also a story of miscalculation and hubris, one which resonates rather profoundly this week as American soldiers, diplomats, intelligence officials and many thousands of Afghans flee the Taliban’s assault on Kabul.

How did we get here?

The story begins, not, as we are commonly led to believe, on 9/11, but in December 1979. As Harper points out, hawkish US officials overstated Soviet gains in the third world in the 1970s, and “exhibit A in the case that the USSR was inexorably expanding…was Afghanistan.” And after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, “Washington believed Russia’s objective was the Persian Gulf.” Yet Harper argues that the hawks within the Carter administration, led by Brzezinski, “were misled by their schematic conceptions.”

According to Harper…

Brzezinski was right that occupying Afghanistan put the Soviets in a better position to march southward. But to consider such a move plausible meant assuming Moscow believed it could overcome the combined resistance of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran. Once again, it required doubting not only the Russian’s declarations but their sanity as well.

For their part, Soviet leaders such as general secretary Leonid Brezhnev, foreign minister Andrei Gromyko, defense minister Dmitry Ustinov, and KGB chief (and later, general secretary) Yuri Andropov were also “victims of their own schematic thinking.” One argument they advanced for the December 24 Soviet invasion was that should then-Afghan prime minister Hafizallah Amin switch sides in the cold war (as Egypt’s Anwar Sadat did, to the continuing consternation of the Soviet leadership) then “the Americans could use Afghanistan to aim additional missiles at the Motherland.” By the 27th, Amin and his closest associates had been executed by KGB special forces.

Harper concludes that the Soviets and the Afghans “would pay a high price for another major miscalculation, this time made in a state of nervous agitation. But positioning themselves to threaten the West’s oil supplies was probably the last thing on their minds.”

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In the end, the US-allied with Brzezinski’s Islamist “freedom fighters” in Afghanistan and bin Laden in order to defeat the Soviets, proving the truth of Henry Wallace’s observation that, “there is no regime too reactionary for us provided it stands in Russia’s expansionist path. There is no country too remote to serve as the scene of a contest which may widen until it becomes a world war.”

Incidentally, the idea that US support for bin Laden and friends helped “win” the cold war remains a treasured fable among some of the dimmer bulbs on Capitol Hill. Here I recall a rather unpleasant lunch I attended some years ago in Washington where the guest of “honor” was the American warlord Erik Price, there to pitch, to the most unreceptive group of journalists imaginable, his plan to privatize the war in Afghanistan and line his own pockets. At this gathering, the elephantine former Republican California congressman Dana Rohrabacher appeared and waxed not-very-eloquently about the time he spent supporting the Afghan Mujahedin.

Brzezinksi and Rohrabacher: What a duo.

And what a mess they started.

In the end, it all backfired in spectacular fashion, setting the stage for the events which continue to unfold in Afghanistan right now.

* James W. Carden is a former adviser to the US state department and a frequent contributor to The American Conservative and The Quincy Institute’s Responsible Statecraft.
Source: Globetrotter