- The Guardian
- Issue #1984
I was disappointed to read Matthew Hole’s article, “Afghans Reclaim Sovereignty as US-NATO Occupation Comes to an End” (Guardian #1977), ironically with a photo of a young Afghan woman looking out of a window. First, I raise an issue with the title, that “Afghans [have] Reclaim[ed] Sovereignty.” Next, I raise an issue with the statement that “the process to hopefully build a more inclusive government is underway.”
The article states that the actions of the Taliban “have moderated considerably since the ’90s. Major differences from this time include women being able to work and go to school, only a Hijab being required as opposed to a Burqa […] in what appears to be a sign of increased religious tolerance.” It concludes with, “the ending of US occupation of Afghanistan must be seen as a preliminary step towards peace.” These statements are incorrect, which was evident before the new government was “elected” in Afghanistan.
I am deeply concerned that the article in the Guardian argues that the Taliban has given back sovereignty to Afghanistan, which suggests that it is an army of liberation. The Taliban has replaced the US and NATO as another occupying force. I fail to see where and how the Taliban is advancing the working class in Afghanistan, where it has helped the downtrodden poor to gain a sense of a working-class struggle and assist the country towards socialism. Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world.
The reality is that the Taliban is the antithesis of what the Party stands for. Our party is a Marxist-Leninist party, in which we believe in educating and strengthening the class struggle. The Taliban are staunchly anti-communist and anti-union. Furthermore, what of their horrific treatment of women, which was widely known even before they occupied Kabul, and has now become even more apparent? Where is the regaining of national sovereignty, even in part, in the Taliban occupation of Afghanistan? It is not an army of liberation but a group of bigoted religious zealots who, through violent action, have turned back the country’s past twenty years of progress, especially for women.
With the new government, we know that there is no Taliban 2.0. The old members are back in power. The hated Ministry of Virtue and Vice, previously abolished by the former government, has now been re-established. Posters of women have been painted over, and their shops closed. Women have lost their position of power in politics and business. Women are forbidden to do sports in public, including the Olympic bicycle team. Women are locked out of universities, and their education is curtailed. Women are now forced to wear the Burqa in public. Demonstrations by women have been banned. We see women being whipped in front of the camera for the world to see, so what happens to those arrested when behind closed doors? The Ministry of Women has been removed, thereby reducing women’s health care. Women are being forced to know their place in Afghani society. And this is Liberation?
Those old enough will remember the videos taken more than twenty years ago showing young women shot in the head by the Taliban for not wearing the Burqa. The Taliban are not liberators, but a bigoted, far-right organisation that have made agreements with opium-exporting warlords, to regain power. Already there are signs of corruption. The millions of dollars the Taliban found when occupying Kabul have mysteriously disappeared, and the government cannot pay to import food. The Taliban is about to introduce the cutting off of hands for theft and re-introduce executions for other crimes.
China signed an agreement with the Taliban, not because the CPC agrees with the Taliban, but because it was in China’s economic and political interests to reopen its mines without fear of attack by terrorists. The agreement also stops the Taliban from infiltrating China to stir up the Muslim Uighurs of North-West China. The Chinese had to deal with a terrorist organisation politically.
Can the Guardian please clarify these issues?