Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Afghanistan: Unbeatable Nationalist Resolve

Afghans: Unbeatable nationalist resolve

From Reason Wafawarova in MELBOURNE, Australia
Zimbabwe Herald

THE US-led Western Alliance faces a daunting political and military quagmire in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the odious reality is now dawning that the imperial misadventure has turned out to be a disastrous start to the millennium.

The undeniable reality is that the Taliban will not be defeated, and must now be included in shaping the face-saving package that the West wants as a veil to sanitise this unavoidable pending defeat.

The unpalatable fact of a defeat at the hands of the Taliban is leading to a ferocious debate in the West on a number of questions. Western governments do not know whether to escalate the war in Afghanistan or to scale it down.

The most visibly confused of the lot is US President Barack Obama. He is as indecisive as a village girl dabbling with two marriage proposals.

Others in the West are asking if the Taliban should be invited to the negotiating table. This is despite George W. Bush’s repeated rant that "we do not negotiate with terrorists". Yet others wonder if it is possible to declare a truce with the Afghan militants without providing a new launch pad for Al-Qaeda’s war on the imperial West, the so-called war on terror.

It is now eight years into the conflict and the resolute band of resistance groups that are collectively known as the Taliban is undeniably winning the war.

According to the London-based International Council on Security and Development, the Taliban now has a permanent presence in 80 percent of Afghanistan, and they have their own civilian administration, courts, economy and even a taxation system in place.

An Afghan-born and Australian-based director of the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies at the Australian National University recently said the Taliban are now "a de facto alternative government".

Amin Saikal must be in the know of what he is talking about because he has strong ties with the Western-backed Karzai government, his own brother being a former cabinet minister under Karzai.

The West prematurely celebrated the "wiping out" of the Mullah Mohammed Omar-led Taliban regime after the 2001 US-led invasion, and George W. Bush promised to go after "everyone of them" that was remotely linked to "the terrorists".

The gallant resistance cadres in the Taliban have clearly regrouped to lead a broad-based uprising against the presence foreign occupiers and the Western-created Karzai government in Kabul.

In an almost stupid attempt at identifying with public opinion, Karzai recently began his second five-year term as president by sheepishly saying he also wanted a decrease in foreign troops; stating that security must be in Afghan hands "within five years".

Amin Sakail explained Karzai’s latest position saying: "The people following Mullah Omar have one line of thinking: ‘We are fighting for our country, we are fighting for our honour, we are fighting for our religion. We see these foreign forces as invaders, and we see the Karzai government as a puppet’."

This philosophy is largely the key line followed by Zanu-PF supporters in Zimbabwe.

They take great exception to British-co-ordinated and US-led Western interference in the internal affairs of the country and they view the MDC-T as a puppet outfit that has been treacherously spoilt with Western moneybags. They view the honour, dignity and national interest of Zimbabwe as under threat. Theirs is the fight for the liberation legacy and the resolve to defend this legacy is undoubtable, as led by veterans of the liberation war.

The Taliban have an inspiration. Their renaissance is a product of their own liberation legacy — that undying resolve to thwart foreign invaders, as was achieved when they defeated the British colonialists in the 19th century, and as they ended a decade of Soviet occupation in 1989.

The inspiring message from Omar rests in the mind and soul of every Taliban fighter. It says: "Your country is occupied by infidels. Your forefathers drove them out, now they are coming back and occupying your land, and you as an Afghan and a Muslim have an obligation to stand up against these people."

This is the resolve that has pumped up the fight in the heart and minds of Afghans, and the result has been a sharp increase in American soldiers returning home in body bags. The West can no longer convince their home population that the "war on terror" is still a credible cause for which so many of their fellow citizens should be dying.

With George W. Bush, John Howard and Tony Blair gone into political oblivion there has not been any Western politician too keen to mislead the people about the credibility of the "war on terror" and as it is such a pretext is now laughable if said publicly.

Obama still thinks Afghanistan is a "war of necessity", perhaps because it is necessary to avoid a humiliating defeat for the world’s number one terrorist state.

Obama wants to send about 40 000 more troops, otherwise the US operation will "result in failure", according to the US Commander in Afghanistan, Stanley McChristal.

This move may prolong the occupation but will not help win the war.

In fact, the surge will be met by a higher surge in moral outrage by young Muslims across the world. Marc Sageman is a former CIA operative and now a counter-terrorism analyst.

He recently warned the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee that a troop boost "may result in moral outrage in young Muslims in the West, who would take it upon themselves to carry out terrorist operations at home in response. So far from protecting the homeland, the surge may actually endanger it in the short term".

Sageman argued that his studies had shown that the majority of the 60 sampled Al-Qaeda-related plots were homegrown and had nothing to do with either the Afghan or Iraq insurgencies.

He lamented the reigning confusion in the West that says trying to thwart insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan is synonymous with destroying Al-Qaeda. Sageman called such confusion "insidious".

He argued that Afghan fighters were "parochial" and were "happy to kill Westerners in Afghanistan, but they are not a threat to Western homelands". Not too many rational people would quarrel with this assertion — largely treated as common sense outside Western circles.

Obama may add 40 000 more troops and all he will get in return are more body bags back to American families. The reality is that he is sending 40 000 invaders to a people that, in Omar’s own words, "fought against the British for 80 years from 1839 to 1919 and ultimately got independence by defeating them".

That means resilience is a natural calling for the Afghans. To reiterate this, Omar said: " If you want to turn the country of the proud and pious Afghans into a colony, then know that we have an unwavering determination and are braced for a long war."

The reports on the ground are that Karzai has been tasked by the United States to talk to the Taliban and such talks have been happening in secret. The Taliban pulled out of such talks recently demanding that talks could only resume after "the Americans leave our country".

Omar is comfortably confident because he knows that inevitably the foreign forces will have to leave Afghanistan eventually. The Taliban can wait, and they have all the time in the world. All they need to do is to keep the battle fires burning.

The US-led Western invaders know very well that if they left now Karzai will be following them to some Western capital within a couple of days if he is lucky to be alive.

They also know that if they left in three years’ time or in five years’ time, there is no chance whatsoever that Karzai would last longer than a week in office.

The Taliban is a name widely and loosely used in describing any group of people opposed to the Western-backed governments of both Afghanistan and Pakistan and this opposition is broad-based and very popular among ordinary Afghans and Pakistanis.

The West will rely on the doctrine of Taliban demonology where they insist that both the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Tehrik-e-Taliban-e Pakistan (TTP) are inherently and intractably twinned to Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda.

This has not been proven at any time although it is the only way the West can manufacture consent among Westerners if the certain defeat at the hands of the Taliban can be delayed by prolonging the losing war as much as can happen.

The war has to be supported by public opinion and the public need to be scared for them to support a war. So why not scare them stiff!

So we are told that the TTP has become one with Al-Qaeda after the killing of its leader, Baitullah Mehsud, who was killed through a US dawn strike in August.

Despite the statesmanlike and reconciliatory tone of Omar, the West will insist on labelling the Taliban a band of "terrorists" because such a label will alienate the Taliban from public opinion in the West.

Some in the West have argued that the Taliban and Al-Qaeda are inseparable and will have to be destroyed together. This is the propagandist approach that George W. Bush established but reality is beginning to dawn on many people that the Taliban are no more than a nationalist movement solely after the sovereignty of their invaded homeland.

Now the West might be forced to avoid further humiliation by negotiating peace with the Taliban. It is absolutely hopeless to hope that Karzai will one day run Afghanistan without being guarded by American soldiers for the execution of his duties.

No manner of weapon sophistry can defeat the national resolve by the Taliban.

There is no weapon formed against a national resolve to defend one’s homeland that will ever prosper.

It is very important for those Zimbabweans who might be thinking highly of Western political backing and those who might be thinking that the resolve in the war veterans that liberated the country will die with the cadres as we keep losing them one by one to natural ending — it is important that they realise that the resolve to defend one’s own country cannot be defeated.

This resolve was not formed by Zanu-PF. It is Zanu-PF that was formed by this resolve, and that is why the hope that if Zanu-PF collapsed as a political party then all is over is just an absolutely baseless sense of misguided optimism.

The MDC-T leadership must learn attentively and fast that doing a Karzai is a thankless ambition that would never work in a nation where people know what it is to liberate a country.

It is impossible to become a successful puppet.

You can be Nouri-al-Maliki of Iraq, or Saddam Hussein, you can be Idi Amin of Uganda or Joseph Mobutu of Congo, you can be Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan or Morgan Tsvangirai of Zimbabwe; but the result will always be the same — shame, humiliation and defeat. That is inescapable.

Zimbabwe we are one and together we will overcome. It is homeland or death!

--Reason Wafawarova is a political writer and can be contacted on or reason@ or visit

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