The Guardian November 21, 2001


Afghan people suffer while big powers manipulate and bomb

By the most blatant and obvious pressure, use of the United Nations as a 
fig-leaf, the deployment of British and American troops on the ground in 
Afghanistan, and threats to withhold aid, the so-called coalition against 
terrorism is attempting to knock together a government which can be 
controlled by the Western powers  the US and Britain in particular.

This is being done under the slogan of a "broad-based government" while 
berating various Afghan political figures who could be expected to take 
part in a unifying government as "warlords", "cronies", "power grabbers" 
and other derogative terms.

Bruce Wilson, a correspondent writing in Sydney's Daily Telegraph 
painted the picture clearly.

He writes that the victory of the Northern Alliance over the Taliban 
happened "far too quickly and decisively" and reports "frantic diplomatic 
moves to establish the broad-based alliance, the US and Britain, as the 
senior allies, want in Kabul. They desperately want this to include 
moderates from the Pashtun people who made up the Taliban ... That is why 
the Kabul celebrations at the end of Taliban rule had undertones of dread."

"Dread" for who?

Another correspondent, Paul McGeough, under the derogatory headline 
"Warlords Jostle for power, ignoring west's threats", (Sydney Morning 
Herald 19/11/01) reports that "an army of international diplomats made 
futile threats that there would be no international aid unless the Afghan 
leadership co-operated with their plans for a power-sharing deal involving 
all groups in a rotated sharing of key national positions of power."

He describes the situation as "messy" and that things are "not going as 
expected by President Bush's coalition against terror, which came into this 
crisis believing it had all the answers ..."

The "mess" is one which has been created over years by the interference of 
the US and its principal ally, Pakistan, in overthrowning the progressive 
revolutionary government that came to power in the 1980s.

As has been frequently pointed out in The Guardian, the Taliban was 
created by US money, weapons and political support.

A number of the political figures that the US wishes to include in a 
"broad-based" government include Rabbani who is now being maligned in the 
media for allegedly "grabbing power" and Hekmatyar, a leader of the anti-
Soviet mujahedein who was proclaimed as a "freedom fighter" but is now 
being referred to as "one of the most appalling of the majority Pashtun 
leaders."

In this cruel circus, which has nothing to do with the interests of the 
people of Afghanistan, the United Nations is playing the role of handmaiden 
to US and British interests. For these powers, the UN, which was not 
consulted in any way before the US and British bombing started, is there to 
implement their political objectives and to organise the distribution of 
some aid,. while at the same time, using aid as a means to exert pressure 
on Afghani forces to comply with Western demands.

A compliant government in Afghanistan is necessary if the wider objectives 
of the NATO powers, including the establishment of military bases in 
central Asia, are to be achieved.

While a political settlement is necessary, it has to be achieved by the 
Afghani people themselves without interference. A first step in this is to 
throw out the military and political forces that are attempting to 
militarily occupy Afghanistan and impose their will on the country.

The Foreign Minister of China has put forward the necessary principles for 
a political settlement.

Far from all aid for the Afghan people coming exclusively from the US as 
Western propaganda maintains, aid worth ...has been contributed by China 
and aid to northern provinces has been shipped in by Russia. China's aid 
included blankets, quilts, tarps and tents while Russia's included grain 
foods.

Some so-called US aid was dropped by US planes with yellow packaging, the 
same coloured packaging as was used for US cluster bombs!

Another development is the revelation that the letters sent by mail in the 
US containing anthrax spores were mailed in the US and almost certainly had 
nothing to do with any external terrorist act.

Commenting on the panic which has arisen in the US as a result of the 
anthrax scare and the attack on the World Trade Centre, Fidel Castro in a 
speech delivered on November 2, said that: "The causes that gave rise to 
panic should be analysed. Certainly, it could not be said that the United 
States is not in risk of terrorist actions.

"However, I do not believe that under the present circumstances of 
generalised alertness, and the measures taken, any group inside or outside 
America could come up with a co-ordinated action, organised in every detail 
for a long time, synchronised and executed with such precision as that of 
September 11.

"In my view the main risk may lie with individual actions, or actions 
carried out by very few people from inside or outside America that could 
cause lesser or greater damage".

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