On Thursday, 12 August 2021, CNN reported that Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul would fall into the hands of the Taliban in 30 to 60 days.(1) On Sunday the 15th (only 3 days later!) the Taliban took control of Kabul. One day after that, the chief comprador leader of the Islamic Republic, Ashraf Ghani, fled the country on an airplane.
As thousands stormed the capital’s airport to flee the country from the Taliban takeover, U.$. soldiers escorting Amerikan personnel shot and killed two Afghanis on the tarmac of Kabul International Airport.(2) Video footage captured citizens hanging onto the side of the airplane and falling off mid-departure.
In regards to the humiliating end note of their 20 years war, the National $ecurity Advisor pig Jake Sullivian said the following:
“Despite the fact that we spent 20 years and tens of billions of dollars to give the best equipment, the best training and the best capacity to the Afghan security forces, we could not give them the will and they ultimately decided that they would not fight for Kabul and they would not fight for the country.”(3)
U.$. imperialism and the “democracy” they claim to spread around the world propped up the extremely reactionary government of the now fallen Islamic Republic. Despite wimmin’s rights having been a focal excuse for the imperialists to invade Afghanistan, their puppets in the Islamic Republic had no meaningful difference in wimmin’s rights in Afghanistan.
To the U.$. imperialists, their defeat (while surprising in how quickly Kabul fell) did not come as shock. On Saturday, 29 February 2020, (around a year and half before the fall of Kabul) the United $tates and the Taliban met in a five star hotel in Qatar and signed agreements to end the 20 years war.(4) One of the primary points of the agreements was complete withdrawal of U.$. troops within 14 months.(5) It seems that this is one of the rare agreements in which Amerikans made a promise and actually kept it with an oppressed nation. Other agreements included Taliban’s refusal to “terrorist groups” such as Al-Qaeda to use Afghanistan’s territory as operation grounds, and lifting of U.$. sanctions on the country.
The Sober Taliban?
In the Amerikan press, there were two big talking points around their defeat in Afghanistan. One was the would-be refugees trying to flee Afghanistan into the arms of Amerika, which nicely reinforces the story that Amerikans were the saviors in the country after all. The second was how wimmin would fair when the Taliban took over again. This reinforces the justification for invading Afghanistan to have been to liberate wimmin from gender oppression, a point that continues to serve U.$. militarism even after a failed 20 year war. A point that had nothing to do at all with why the U.$. invaded.
The Taliban is not unaware of these perceptions, leading to their representatives at the peace negotiations to suggest for less backwards treatment of wimmin under their rule.(6) Zabihullah Mujahid has claimed that they will “honor women’s rights,” and the “independence of private media” (journalists, news organizations, etc.).(7)
Mujahid’s comment highlights an important part of the Taliban’s new look (and most importantly, their class character). As rising from the bourgeois nationalist position, they were part of a country-wide Islamic movement to usurp warlord factions which ruled Afghanistan. The warlords themselves rose with western aid to usurp Soviet social-imperialist compradors led by Mohammad Najibullah. Mohammad Najibullah also started out with bourgeois nationalist tendencies usurping monarchist compradors.
After coming to power in the 1990s, the Taliban were overthrown by the U.$. imperialists themselves in the early 2000s after seeking to bite the hand that fed them decades before. Now, in 2021, they have risen to the seat again in Kabul. In order to maintain legitimacy, they must seek acceptability to new potential imperialist sponsors. If that means talking the talk to become the neo-colonial semi-feudal comprador state that the puppet regime beforehand never lived up to, then they must do it out of tactical necessity. Despite this tricky position that they have found themselves in, the United $tates’ do not seem to be the number one contender as Afghanistan’s neo-colonial ruler.
Upon the line of which class interest is at the helm of Afghanistan’s liberation from the United $tates’, we should also emphasize that under the leadership of the national bourgeois there was also the petty-bourgeoisie, the peasantry, and the agricultural proletariat within the Taliban movement. This character of Afghanistan’s national liberation gives time and space for the Afghan masses to breathe and provide necessary conditions for discussions on the country’s past, present, and future: what is to be done? What were the historical conditions that led up to colonial exploitations and humiliation? What does our liberation from the U.$. imperialists mean today? These questions will be further asked during the transformation of subjective and objective forces by revolutionaries.
The Social-Imperialist Road to Afghanistan
China was one of the first major imperialist countries to recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan and the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan as a legitimate country.(8) It is nothing new for social-imperialism (not only in Afghanistan but for the whole world) to hijack bourgeois nationalist movements and turn them into satellite states. The number one tactic of Soviet social-imperialism was through neo-colonial aid, and China seems to be using the same tactic. China’s foreign minister Wang Yi said on September 8th, only a few weeks after the Taliban’s victory, that they will be providing the Taliban government $31 million dollars equivalent in food and aid.(9)
While publicly declaring their $31 million dollar deal with the Taliban, Wang Yi has also expressed calls for the Taliban to combat and remove the Uyghar jihadist movements of Xinjiang province – primarily the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP). Where China borders Afghanistan, the Xinjiang province is where most Uyghars reside (a majority Muslim national minority group of China facing oppression). The Turkestan Islamic Party – which has had historical alliances with the Taliban of Afghanistan – poses a major threat to the stability of capitalist China alongside the general Uyghar minority group. As a group who once declared liberation for the Muslim world, the Taliban will now have to be in a position of being the agents for Chinese social-imperialism against fellow Muslim nations/organizations. This is the limit to Jihadism as an anti-imperialist force (and other bourgeois nationalist anti-imperialisms) and the poisonous consequences of social-imperialism. Without Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, liberated countries will only fall back to colonialism.
Long Live Afghanistan
The United $tates’ defeat in Afghanistan, and the Taliban’s victory is a victory for the Afghan people. For the first time, Afghanistan could have a chance of being an independent nation state in our modern capitalist era. However, foreign meddling by the Amerikans, Chinese and others continue to threaten the development of Afghanistan’s self-determination. It is only by continuing down the road of independence that questions of economics, gender and the urban/rural divide in the country can be adequately addressed. The Taliban has served as a historically important and necessary opponent of foreign occupation, but the Afghan people need more than that to continue to address the contradictions they face as a nation. Revolutionaries here in the United $tates must continue to oppose our government’s interference in that progress.
Long Live Afghanistan!
Down with world imperialism!
1. Barbara Starr, “Intelligence assessments warn Afghan capital could be cut off and collapse in coming months,” CNN, 12 August 2021.
2. Rebecca Klapper, “U.S. Military Fatally Shoots 2 at Kabul Airport as Biden Orders in 1,000 Additional Troops,” Newsweek, 12 August 12, 2021.
4. Saphora Smith, “U.S.-Taliban sign landmark agreement in bid to end America’s longest war,” MSNBC, 29 February 2020.
6. Amanda Thub, “Why the Taliban’s Repression of Women May Be More Tactical Than Ideological,” The New York Times, 4 October 2021.
7. Associated Press, “The Taliban Claim They’ll Respect Women’s Rights — With Their Reading Of Islamic Law,” NPR, August 12, 2021
8. Memri, “During September, China-Taliban Relations Continued To Strengthen,” 5 October 2021.
9. Helen Reagan, “China to provide Afghanistan with $31 million worth of food and Covid vaccines,” CNN, 9 September 2021.