Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Canadian Occupation of Afghanistan Another 10 Years?

Canadian PM Stephen Harper with his
Afghan puppet President Hamid Karzai

Troubled by their inability to defeat the Afghan resistance to a foreign occupation, last October 2007 the Canadian government set up a commission to “review” Canada’s role in Afghanistan. The Conservative government chose the prominent Liberal, John Manley, to head up the commission. The report called for the extension of the occupation, alongside calls for more troops and more weapons and equipment. With extra troops and weapons, the report says the war can be won “in less than ten years”. Just because the pro-war Conservatives and Liberals are saying that they're going to extend the occupation to at least 2011 shouldn’t have us thinking that it’s going to end by then. How many times have we heard over the last 7 years that the Canadian military will be out in “2005”... “2007”... “2009”... and now 2011?

The truth of Afghanistan today is that the once-hated Taliban is growing in popularity in the face of the brutal foreign military occupation and the corrupt puppet government of Hamid Karzai.

Little do Canadians know that Karzai’s government operates under a narrow and harsh interpretation of Islamic law under which many people are suffering. The effects of this theocratic dictatorship is demonstrated by the recent condemnation to death of a 23-year-old journalist/student Pervez Kambaksh for downloading an article about women and Islam So while Western politicians rant on about religious fundamentalism and the “war on terror”, it is they who installed and maintain the criminal and fundamentalist regime of Hamid Karzai. But the Karzai government and NATO forces know that they can buy out the corrupt and opportunist leaders of the Taliban, as they have in the past. Indeed, the occupying forces have already begun encouraging Karzai to negotiate with the Taliban. Whatever comes of these “peace efforts”, the people of Afghanistan will continue to suffer under occupation.

And what about all this talk of human rights? Today in Afghanistan, many marriages are contracted between older men and underage girls by extremely impoverished and desperate parents. Women are frequently killed and shot with no consequences. The former Women’s Affairs Minister of Afghanistan Sima Simar was dismissed from parliament for “blasphemy against Islam” because she referred to Karzai’s government as a rubber stamp democracy.

Furthermore, a recent report by the UN indicates that violence against women has doubled since the US/Canadian invasion. Suraya Subhrang, a member of the committee that released the UN report comments that "in spite of six years of international rhetoric on the emancipation of Afghan women, there has been no real change in the lives of millions of women".

And what about Canada’s record on torture? It is well documented that the Canadian government has continuously outsourced torture to its puppets in the Afghan, police and military forces.

Much is said about ‘progress’ and ‘victory’ in Afghanistan by the Canadian government; but we should be particularly worried about what is not being said. Exact numbers of Afghan casualties are not reported. And when casualties are reported, the victims are referred to as “Taliban supporters”.

Canadians should not be fooled by the politicians. What is undeniable is that the human rights situation in Afghanistan is worse today than it ever was under the Taliban. Consequently, the Afghan people are in insurgency, and the Taliban is appearing as the lesser of evils. However, progressive left-wing movements, like the Maoist Communist Party of Afghanistan – who also fought against the Soviet occupation in the 1980s – are also growing in support.

So while the politicians go on stirring fear amongst Canadians of what would happen if the troops withdrew from Afghanistan, Canadians should know that the Afghan people have resisted and defeated many occupations in the past, including the British and the Soviets. They will likely do the same to the Americans and Canadians.

The majority of working-class Canadians should cheer the prospects of the Canadian military being chased out of Afghanistan by a people's war. Maybe then Canadians can regain our crumbling healthcare, education, and public transportation systems.