Socialist Worker

Afghanistan: Growing resistance to the ‘40-year war’

by Simon Assaf
Issue No. 2164

The US military has admitted that the Afghan resistance is spreading across the country.

US General Stanley McChrystal, who is presenting a strategic assessment of the occupation, warned that the insurgency has spread from its traditional areas to other parts of the country.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, McChrystal said, “We’ve got to stop their momentum, stop their initiative. It’s hard work.”

His warning came as fighters stormed a government building Pul-i-Alam, near the Afghan capital, Kabul.

McChrystal said that the occupation needs a “very significant expansion” of the Afghan army.

There are currently some 100,000 foreign troops in the country. But the occupation needs to build the Afghan army to 400,000 troops—four times its current size.

The US military is now demanding an extra 45,000 troops, on top of the 62,000 it currently has in Afghanistan.

The US announced that some 4,000 troops would be launching an offensive on the Kandahar province. A similar offensive in the Helmand province last month resulted in heavy casualties.

Other soldiers will be posted to remote bases around the country, making them easy targets for guerrilla-style attacks.

Over 1,300 foreign troops and countless thousands of Afghans have been killed since the 2001 invasion—with the death toll rising month on month.

In July, 76 soldiers died and hundreds were badly wounded—22 were British soldiers.

Now McChrystal is warning that the August will be as bloody as July.

The announcement of a new offensive came as the future head of the British army, General Sir David Richards, told the Telegraph newspaper that Britain could be in Afghanistan for the next “30 to 40 years”.

Richards said that “the end will be difficult to define—it won’t be neat and clear-cut like the end of some old-fashioned inter-state war might have been.”

He added, “There is absolutely no chance of Nato pulling out. We made this mistake once. Our opponents are banking on us doing it again, and we must prove them wrong.”

The Tories have made it clear that they want to send more troops if they get elected.

Shadow defence minister Gerald Howarth said that leaving “would not be fair to those who have given their lives for this conflict”.

Occupation forces in Afghanistan announced that they have issued a “kill or capture” order for 367 “drug traffickers” as part of their war against the Taliban insurgents.

The death list has raised alarm about “mission creep”, with foreign troops launching a campaign of assassinations against those they suspect of supporting the insurgency.

A similar campaign in Iraq resulted in the killing of thousands of people suspected of supporting the resistance.


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International
Tue 11 Aug 2009, 18:46 BST
Issue No. 2164
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