Afghanistan is facing a long and bloody summer. Tony Blair and George Bush claimed that they had “liberated” the country in 2001 when they invaded and drove out the Taliban regime.
But new reports, published this week in Socialist Worker, show the country has descended into chaos with growing numbers of people taking up arms against Western occupation.
The US military has denounced all resistance to the occupation as “Taliban and Al Qaida remnants”. Yet the rebellion is spreading to regions hostile to the Taliban and among ethnic groups previously considered to be friendly to the US backed regime.
Areas once considered safe are now classified as “unstable”, and fighting has even reached the outskirts of the capital, Kabul.
Kabul was once considered a safe haven from the instability in the rest of the country, but has recently seen an anti-occupation riot.
Anger at the arrogance of Western troops, and at a government riddled with corruption and run by warlords, is firing a rebellion similar to that faced by the Soviet military in the 1980s.
Western troops face daily suicide bomb attacks, roadside ambushes and a rising death toll. More soldiers have died so far this year than in the whole of 2004, with May and June the bloodiest months for Western troops since the occupation began.
The occupation forces have reacted with increasing brutality. The US has admitted conducting 340 air strikes across the country over the last few months, over double the number of raids conducted in Iraq.
These raids involve B52 bombers dropping 500lb and 2000lb bombs, and attack aircraft and helicopter gunships strafing villages.
The death toll among Afghans is unknown, but the Kabul government has admitted that up to 900,000 people are now refugees.
They have been driven from their homes by a massive offensive involving US, Canadian and British troops.
In one refugee camp over 47,000 people have been abandoned without food or water.
This is a long way from Bush and Blair’s promise of reconstruction and a better future.
Western leaders are sending another 9,000 troops to the country, bringing the total to 17,000. These troops are digging in for a long war. They are setting up a string of military outposts.
The military is claiming that this summer’s fighting will be the Taliban’s last stand. But the only certainty is that Afghanistan will continue to face an uncertain and bloody future under Western occupation.