Afghanistan

Afghanistan and the US pledge to get out

On 29 February, the USA signed a deal with the Taliban to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan within 14 months. The US has been at war in Afghanistan with the Taliban, an Islamist movement based in the lawless north-west of Pakistan, for over 18 years. In December 2019, the Afghan women’s right activist and secularist Malalai Joya, on a visit to Italy, declared that in 18 years of what she called “NATO occupation… things have just gotten worse” in Afghanistan. The longer the troops have stayed, the worse the prospects when they withdraw have become. *Solidarity* has long supported withdrawal....

1919 - Throwing off the shackles of Empire

After Britain and its Allies had won the war, proclaiming themselves champions of freedom and democracy, the people of its imperial possessions stepped up their democratic demand for some of that freedom for themselves. India In its largest colony, India, Britain imposed the Rowlatt Act, extending wartime powers of indefinite imprisonment without trial. It prompted anger and rebellion, against both the Act and continuing British rule. The British left supported self-determination for India and other colonies, and in April, held a large public meeting in London, demanding ‘India for the Indians...

Cool on Trump, hot against liberals

On 4 January, US president Donald Trump, in a rambling speech at a meeting of his cabinet, praised the USSR invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. “The reason Russia was in, in Afghanistan, was because terrorists were going into Russia. They were right to be there”. In fact, the USSR invaded because the Afghan government of the time, led by a radical faction of the PDP (Afghanistan’s “Communist Party”, chiefly based among armed forces officers trained in the USSR) looked likely to fall. The invaders installed the more cautious faction of the PDP as a government propped up by USSR military might, but...

TV fictions and AWL reality

An open letter to Ashok Kumar It’s been said before, and it will bear saying again. If everything published by the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty in the last five decades were to disappear, and if future historians of socialism had to rely on what our political opponents said about us, then the historians would find it impossible to make political sense of the story. On the one hand we are people who do, and have always done, everything we can to help workers in their struggle against employers and governments. We throw everything we have into that. We preach working-class revolutionary...

Trump boosts troops in Afghanistan

Those who wished to see an end to the United States’ longest ever military venture, its sixteen year-long war in Afghanistan, were left disappointed when in late August, Donald Trump committed to send more US troops in the country. Trump has promised a further 4,000 troops and to scrap timetables for withdrawal. He has gone further than previous US presidents in explicitly calling out Pakistan for its “failures” in dealing with jihadists operating from Pakistani territory. The move marks a clear shift for Donald Trump, a man already not known for predictability and consistency. Prior to his...

Marine A is no hero

Marine A: Right, get him closer in so PGSS can’t see what we’re doing to him… Marine A: Where is the CAT, Ugly call sign? [Referring to the helicopter that is watching them pretending to apply a field dressing to an injured Afghan insurgent.] Marine B: It’s gone that way? Marine A: Yeah Marine B: Went south, mate? (Gunshot) M: What was that? Marine A: There you are, shuffle off this mortal coil you cunt. It’s nothing you wouldn’t do to us. Marine B: I know. M: Exactly. Marine A: Obviously this doesn’t go anywhere fellas. Marine B: Yeah, roger, mate. Marine A: I’ve just broke the Geneva...

Introduction: A watershed for the left

Afghanistan’s “Great Saur Revolution”, in April 1978, and the Russian invasion of Afghanistan that flowed from it 20 months later, at Christmas 1979, were two of the most important events of the second half of the 20th century. The invasion led to the so named Second Cold War. Their failure to subjugate Afghanistan in a nine-year colonial war was one of the things that shattered the self-confidence of the Russian Stalinist bureaucracy, and contributed to its downfall. The April 1978 revolution was a freakish event — an army and air force officers’ coup controlled by the Peoples Democratic...

Introduction (1985)

Just after Christmas 1979, 100,000 soldiers of the Russian army occupied Afghanistan. Five and a half years later the Afghans are still putting up an unquellable resistance. Russia holds only the towns; even its hold on the towns is insecure. Over large areas of the country the writ of Russia’s puppet government does not run. The invaders are forced to move around in convoys which are frequently ambushed, reportedly with heavy losses. Even the Russian “embassy” in Kabul is not safe from rocket attacks. Kabul, the capital city, with a population of one million, is reportedly surrounded by three...

The Russian invasion of Afghanistan in the British labour movement

Most of the Trotskyist organisations backed the Russians. Socialist Organiser was the only organisation in the entire “orthodox Trotskyist” political spectrum that condemned the Russian invasion and called for the troops to be withdrawn. The confusion on the left about Stalinism created great difficulties for Socialist Organiser in the 1984-5 miner’s strike. For us the first principle was the liberty and political independence of the working class everywhere. We had to combine necessary criticism of Scargill and his friends in their capacity of Stalinists with whole-hearted support for them in...

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