Socialist Worker

Massacres were the true face of Afghan war

Issue No. 2768

US soldiers survey a village in Afghanistan in 2006.

US soldiers survey a village in Afghanistan in 2006. (Pic: The U.S. Army/Flickr)


US president Joe Biden broke open a decades‑long lie on Monday. Seeking to justify his policies, he said the brutal war on Afghanistan was never about “nation-building”.

That is directly contrary to what George Bush and Tony Blair claimed the “war on terror” was for.

Instead Biden reverted to saying the war was to combat terrorism. In truth it brought terror to the Afghan people.

British, US and other troops from their alliance committed atrocities that flowed from the imperialist nature of the war.

They used Afghan civilians as target practice in broad daylight, raided homes at night to execute people and tortured “suspected” Taliban fighters.

It was the occupation and its brutalities that drove support for the Taliban.

Soldiers took pictures with murdered victims, or collected body parts as “trophies”—as in the Maywand District murders from June 2009 to June 2010.

US soldiers murdered a 15 year old boy, Gul Mudin, who was working on his father’s farm.

After being shot dead he was stripped as soldiers posed with him. They also killed 22 year old Marach Aghar and kept part of his skull.

In the Kandahar massacre in March 2012, US soldiers intentionally murdered 16 civilians and injured a further six. Nine of their victims were children.

And the Wech Baghtu US airstrike caused 37 civilian deaths and 27 injuries at a wedding.

US soldiers also backed Afghan warmongers with a history of corruption, murder, torture and rape.

True numbers of civilian deaths have been purposefully covered up. One airstrike in December 2001 blew up 65 civilians.

But the US claimed those hit were al-Qaeda members, despite evidence to the contrary.

The US’s Bagram airbase was, until this week, a prison full of torture and abuse for some 5,000 people.

Most victims were civilians “suspected” of being Taliban fighters—or would-be fighters—based on little to no evidence. Dr Aafia Siddiqui was kept locked in the airbase for seven years with her three young children.

Britain was in on the abuses too. One particular horror came in 2012 after four children were murdered by special forces.

And Britain held a prison at Camp Bastion—where captives were held indefinitely without charge.

Human rights abuses are just one reason to shut down all military operations in Afghanistan.

For the soldiers, instilling fear in their victims or playing sport with innocent lives was part of the fun of their war.

There is now an attempt to say the chaos and suffering of Afghanistan is the product of Western forces leaving too quickly.

It is a result of a war that should never have been started, and which continued far too long.


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