After withdrawal of American troops and occupation of Afghan Taliban in Afghanistan hybrid regime in Pakistan and right-wing political forces are celebrating the victory of Afghan Taliban. So-called mainstream electronic and print media is glorifying the Afghan Taliban. Rising of religious right-wing politics and curbing the human rights, exploitation of working-classes and more oppression on small nations, minorities is increasing. How leftist circles are seeing these developments in the country and in the region? I talked to some Marxist intellectuals:
“Ghani failed to address the needs of the Afghan security forces, which was exploited by the Taliban. But in the end, his downfall was due to his stubborn insistence on clinging to power, even when the country’s interests, including the pursuit of peace, were better served by his relinquishing it,” said Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington.
“A large part of Afghanistan either was under control of Afghan Taliban or under control of Dostum-Hazara Militia-Northern Alliance, although they were allied of the Afghan President Ghani but were not following the Ghani’s instructions. So, there was no united center in Afghanistan having capability and desire of combating the Afghan Taliban. Thus, when withdrawal of US forces started , local powerful warlords had started to make agreements with Afghan Taliban while feeling the blowing the winds of change, so no resistance was faced by Afghan Taliban in capturing the northern Afghanistan first and then Kabul too”, said an American Congressman from Democrat, while talking to CNN.
Prof. Riaz Ahmed, a left oriented academic from Karachi University of Pakistan while quoting above two statements said to me, “My view is that first we should understand the position of Afghanistan in the context of capitalist development. Like of the countries, positions of the parties, groups, classes, guerrillas, areas, even the position of the individuals in the context of capitalist development distinguish during the chaos. So that time is not to see who is winning, who is defeating or coming in the power but that time demands to understand the situation through directly from the views of Afghan masses and through the TV reports. It is the time to understand which class is economically more functional? More advancing? Who is fighting? At this time, we are observing that the planted development we had heard about again and again from liberal Pashtuns had generated the parasites on capitalist level. These parasites remained fighting in the presence of Us imperialism but as soon as US imperialism withdrawn itself from Afghanistan, that parasites had too vanished from the scene. We can say that in the sense of Gramscian term those parasites had no class hegemony in the Afghan society. A country which earns dollars through selling the carpets, dry-fruits, herbal-products etc. can’t be more than a very backward capitalist country. That was the reason of domination of militias in the areas during the presence of US in the country. Tragedy is that Afghanistan still is a territory having handicraftsmen/women and small-farmers and it is no Nation-state in any sense. American imperialist propaganda was that in the Afghanistan was passing through the phase of great capitalist progress. Under the control of US imperialism Bridges, roads were constructed, services were provided, schools, hospitals and NGOs networks were established, so called National Afghan Forces were established. But during the phase of great development here we didn’t saw any economic-surplus means value-addition through capitalist mode, from which capitalist class emerges in a society, who establishes the state institutions to use violent power for suppressing the working classes to feel the all oppressors and exploiters a sense of domination under a state administration. Such things may be happened in 70s during a Socialist regime. After that war-torn Afghanistan could get neither freedom nor time to get such things. Therefore, not capitalist government, but opportunities arise again and again for the workers and the oppressed to come to power together and when this does not happen, fill this gap with the religious, sectarian, racist lower middle class. And if Taliban type group challenges the imperialist power, then middle class and big business classes cooperate with the invaders. Neither rule of theocratic clergy nor the clientelism of Imperialist power is solution. Unity of wretched sects, oppressed ethnic groups and working classes is need of the time and their unity and united struggle are the real solution of the problem.”
He further added,” On 15 August, after Afghan Taliban entered the Kabul, the statement given by the US President was the best capitalist analysis, no doubt he belongs to worst barbarous group. But he tells us very important point that building of the Nation-State is internal job of the ruling classes dominating there. And it is impossible to do from the outside. Biden says that they (Americans) provided their Afghan clients every thing including Air-Force support, salaries to build a Nation- State but the leaders fled away, means he was telling that Ashraf Ghani and others quit the country instead of resisting the Afghan Taliban and of making efforts to build Afghanistan as Nation-State. Externally imposed military dictatorship runs on imperial crutches but has to take root in capitalist society itself. History is full of such examples where US helped the military to take over the country to save the local capitalists linked to US capitalist interests. Such US interventions we have seen in Germany, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Latin America, Africa. Even in Pakistan it was local capitalist class for protection of that US intervened and asked military to take over the power. US doesn’t play its role in promoting the industries in any country but it provides the trade opportunity even a complete market. Such great open opportunity didn’t provide any Empire in the history which provided/provides US Empire. US provided dollars to Pakistan whenever that was in his interest even provided its textile market to Pakistan. Still Pakistan exports its 20-25 % of total textile export. During 5 years Pakistan’s textile export increased from $3 billion to $4.2 billion. When US came in Afghanistan then export of commodities and services to US began to increase from $ one billion and reached $ 11 billion till 2011 but in 2020 it decreased to just $3 billion in 2020. So, fact is that US can’t generate capital itself in a country like Afghanistan. Neither US had such intention. Definition of development devised for itself or provided to masses by the capitalism is complex reality not propaganda. And we realize that complex truth in the time of war or during the crisis.”
In Pakistan a section from left circles is interpreting the US withdrawal from Afghanistan as worst defeat than in Vietnam, it wants to celebrate the defeat of US imperialism rather than chest-beating over arrival of the Afghan Taliban in the Kabul again. Sartaj Ahmed belongs to the said section of the leftist circles of Pakistan. He writes in a post appeared on his Facebook account:
“US had invaded on Afghan Taliban in Afghanistan to build the Afghanistan as Nation State. US thought that it was possible to build a Nation-State through external intervention and aid. But it couldn’t be happened. Neither it couldn’t build the Nation-State, nor it established a National Afghan Army based on Nation-State ideology. US couldn’t increase the size of capitalist and middle classes required to. Neither the small size of middle class and tiny capitalist class passed through the evolutionary stages under dialectics of that a national movement begins to arise to make a Nation-State. In Afghanistan through Bon Conference imperialist powers tried to impose democracy and state-institution through an agreement imposed on Afghans from the upward. At that time same
question had been raised whether it was possible to build a Nation-State without required size of middle class and capital class in the Afghanistan. Other question was that can undersize middle class and capitalist class force the other classes and groups to follow them? Or Afghanistan would remain client-state? In Afghanistan imperialist power was challenged by Afghan Taliban having rural background and they defeated the US imperialism. Undersized middle and capitalist urban classes couldn’t combat the Afghan Taliban and fled away. I am happy over worst defeat of US imperialism.”
Sartaj Ahmad writes,
“Imperialist powers after defeat in war, have been divided over method of withdrawal. They saw disintegrating the so-called state and Afghan Army, over their building they have spent more than two trillion dollars. Hundreds of books, thousands of research articles and reports written by postmodern and neoliberal writers on the construction of states and implementation of democracy by the imperialist powers proved to be rubbish. Afghans have proved that at least their history of resistance to colonialism has not faded.”
Riaz Ahmed differs with Sartaj Ahmed and he responds,
“Afghans proved it? Are we living in the 19th century when the Mongols conquered India, the Tatars conquered Central Asia and the British conquered India? The Taliban is a reactionary force that has no concept of development nor does it hold itself accountable to the people. They are the same as ISIS and Al Qaeda. Their arrival cannot be described as any better. It will divide the working class badly, carry out regional and sectarian massacres and make the lives of women and the poor miserable.”
He further elaborates his point of view,
“My point of view is that a capitalist state has two aspects, one private capitalist elite and other bureaucracy, both of which less or more accumulate the capital. Foreign capitalist or imperialist doesn’t generate the internal capitalist but it takes the steps to promote the internal capitalist. In that process providing the foreign market, allocation of the debts, sending their consultants, devising the projects and training the civil and military bureaucracy, that is very important in the process. For example, in Case of Ayub Khan’s military regime in Pakistan, when US came closed to the Pakistan then US trained well the upper strata of civil and military bureaucracy. To train well the upper strata of the bureaucracy has a great importance in the US multi-national system. This system recruits even the most less capable person, work has been done by the hired person but vigorously gives the training to that person. They brainwash all those things which the hired persons had learnt in the schools and college, hired persons have been trained entirely through different way. Later such hired persons become officers and those persons run the multi-national institutions and the states. In process of strengthening the Pakistan Army by US, the aspect of training was very crucial aspect. On one side Pakistani capitalists get the US market and on the other side Pakistani bureaucracy gets that training. Therefore, both sections see US imperialism as their Godfather. It seems in Afghanistan, US failed to prepare such highly compatible and trained bureaucracy, which Joe Biden had called Nation-building in his speech. When he says that we had not gone there for Nation-Building he meant that they were not there for generating the internal capital.”
I put the question in front of him, “What US and NATO were doing there in Afghanistan, what was that?
“Joe Biden admits himself that US gave the weapons, Jet fighter planes to Afghanistan and trained the people there. US depended over that training to defeat the Afghan Taliban. My view is that Failure of US imperialism is its failure in preparing the fully trained bureaucracy. Liberals in Pakistan like Afrasiab Khattak, Hussain Haqqani, Muhammad Taqi, Ayesha Siddiqa, Najam Sethi seem confused and they are cursing American Administration directly over such disgracing retreat. Possibility which we are seeing is that US will allow the Afghan Taliban to impose the brand of the Islam in Afghanistan just like we see in Saudi Arabia and UAE. US imperialism allows to monarchy where it fails to build Nation-State. So liberals in Pakistan, India and even in US see the collapsing the Ghani regime in the Kabul equal to sacking the people who were busy in promoting the liberal values of capitalism in backward countries. Time is changing”, replied Riaz Ahmed.
I contacted to Azam Khan, an leftist expert on Afghan affairs. He had spent many years in exile in Afghanistan during the Communist regime led by Dr. Najibullah and asked him, “What is meaning of returning the Afghan Taliban in power again?”
“Second time occupation of Afghan Taliban on Kabul is imposition of theocratic dictatorship on people of Afghanistan on one side, It has been brought terrible future for minorities, small nationalities and wretched layers like women, poor on other side. Religious right wing in Pakistan seems confused over the sudden change on one side and they are taking the defeat of US imperialism there as great moral victory on other side. It seems history has been reversed again in 2001 after occupation of Afghan Taliban on Afghanistan.”
“Some comrades says that importance of defeat of US imperialism is ten times more that the occupation of Afghan Taliban in Afghanistan. Defeat of US imperialism is true but to ignore or minimize irony created from the imposition of theocratic dictatorship of the Afghan Taliban will be very dangerous. They inclined toward the bearing the concept of the society adopted by Afghan Taliban just for the reason that society is like that. In conservative Pashtun tradition women place is in their homes, that denies the existence of good minorities and sects. Modern education is apostasy in the conservative Pashtun culture. My concern is that should we accept the concept of social living adopted by Afghan Taliban while making the excuse of non-availability of the sources and of domination of conservative Pashtun tradition in the Afghan society? Then it means concept of the Marxist development must be remain feudalistic because before capitalism that was the tradition of the society and modern education, concept of equality had used to create the unrest and destabilization in the society”, Riaz Ahmed said while disagreeing with those comrades who are in jubilation mood while ignoring or obfuscating the irony created due to occupation of Afghan Taliban in the Afghan society.
“I think the people who take Afghan Taliban as the Anti-Imperialist force are in fact conservative like the Afghan Taliban. They use criticism on capitalism as shield for their conservatism. They think all capitalist development is cause of destruction of human development but according to Marx capitalism is more liberating force as compare to feudalism but it is now at the stage from where it can not develop more humanity, there fore now revolution of working-class is needed. So, from this dimension Marxism is not conservative but modern. Emancipation of the people of the Afghanistan will be possible through emancipation from hybrid regimes and from dictatorships prevailing in the region. For achieving this task where we need to organize the working class and oppressed sections of the Afghan society, we need to expand the struggle against the curbs on basic human rights and labor rights in Pakistan while combating the arising of right-wing religious politics backed by the hybrid Pakistani regime”, Said Riaz Ahmed.
Aamir Hussaini translated all narration into English and compiled it as feature. Aamir Hussaini is Editor of The Easten Times Pakistan, a web-newspaper