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Restoration in the Afghani revolution

1. The organization of guerrillas

The organization of the mujahideen guerrillas is interesting for us. A Soviet general writes:

"Opposition organizations had a clearly defined structure, which was similar for them all. The directing body was an executive council which consisted of a chairman of a party, his representatives in ideology, politics, military and administrative problems, and also chairmen of committees.

The headquarters usually consisted of committees: political, military, finance, administrative, organizational problems and propaganda, information, the refugees, justice and counter-intelligence.

The headquarters controlled the armed bands on the territory of Afghanistan and situation in the zone of their responsibility, planned military action, preparation and conduct of caravans with weapons, ammunition, etc. on the territory of the republic, financing the bands; it provided for creation of bases, building fortifications, stores, trespassing the borders, organized interaction between bands belonging to different parties, and other tasks.

The intermediate chain of administration consisted of local Islamic committees, which usually consisted of a chairman, one or two deputies, judges, mullahs, a tax collector, and elder man of a village and a leader of an armed band, one of which usually was a chairman of the committee

In the course of their work, the Islamic committees controlled the situation in the zone of their responsibility, directed military action, resolved arguments between leaders of armed bands, collected taxes and money from population. They also supplied conscripts for the rebels and bands from among local population and people who went through military training on the territory of Iran and Pakistan, organized and led ideological work among the population and among the soldiers of the opposition."

The headquarters of a fighting organization must consist of a number of committees, each of which is responsible for a definite sphere, e.g. politics, military, ideology, etc. Between the headquarters and the population there are local committees which engage in self-administration and coordinate their actions with the central headquarters.

The armed struggle of guerrillas can be divided into three stages:

"First - organizational, with insignificant fighting activity, but wide agitation and propaganda campaigns among the population and obtaining their support.

Second - increasing fighting activity through terrorist acts and sabotage, brief attacks of garrisons consisting of government troops, attacking columns, the main goal - obtaining weapons and ammunitions and different technical means. Third - complete destruction of the enemy.

Main principles of military actions were: to avoid direct clashes with superior forces of regular army, avoid transformation of a fight into a positional warfare, to refuse holding an occupied region for a prolonged period of time, to attack suddenly, using various covert means, and also terror and ideological influencing of Afghani army and population."

Afghani guerrillas used short-wave radios and walky-talkies to communicate with each other.

The guerrillas built bases for training their men:

"The base regions were rather large areas in hard to get to mountain gorges, away from roads and Soviet and Afghani garrisons. Main elements of such regions were: headquarters (an Islamic committee), a study center, different stores, a repair shop, a hospital, living quarters, hiding places and bomb shelters. Here one could find permanent garrisons for defense and service purposes. The base regions had engineering works, a well developed network of defense structures and barriers, protected by means anti-aircraft defenses.

(The program of study) In most of the study centers there was a general military training. It included a study of the mechanism of the firing weapons and practical shooting, learning the basics of military tactics, learning orientation skills on a new territory, the emergency medical help. In addition, there was a program of religious-political propaganda... Special attention was paid to preparation of saboteurs and leaders of armed formations. In a number of study centers there were programs of education for bomb specialists, using anti-aircraft guns, special centers were created for learning how to use mobile anti-aircraft missile systems and other kinds of missiles.

(Organization of such a preparation center): Most of such study centers were tent cities, surrounded by barbed wire. The largest of these contained permanent administration buildings and barracks. In the centers there was a strict control over the entrances and a uniform day schedule; also, there were guards and security."

Communist guerrillas can also work on creating such bases. These must be far away from beaten roads, in some hard to get regions. At first, they can consist of tents. It should not be "a summer camp", but rather a military and theoretical camp. Long trips, some of them at night, should simulate military conditions. There must be lectures on topic which were agreed on by future participants (via the Internet). The management of the camp should be guided by communist norms. Specifically, there should be no separate castes of "directors" and "campers". Everyone should participate in decision making.

2. The beginning of Restoration

In 1985 Gorbachev came to power in the USSR, and, in 1989, attempting to solve its own internal problems and improve the relations with the U.S., the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan. 

Akimbekov writes:

"After the Soviet troops left Afghanistan in 1989, the conflict lost its typical traits of a struggle against foreign intervention. It took on mostly the character of a civil war."

In 1992 the regime of Najibullah fell, thanks not so much to the strength of the mujahideen, who were full of internal contradictions, but due to its own weaknesses (on the photo: Najibullah and his brother hanging). Akimbekov writes:

"The decisive role in the fall of regime of Najimullah was played by the leader of ethnic Uzbeks general Abdul Rashid Dostum. His militia came up to Kabul from the North and cut off the capital from the northern provinces, in which there were significant reserves and   material supplies. The rebellion of general Dostum served as a final drop in the fall of the already weakened regime of Najibullah. Decisive action of general Dostum, who brought up to Kabul large military units, was rather unexpected by the main participants of the Afghani events. The garisson of Kabul was not ready to defend itself from an attack from the north coming from their recent allies".

From 1992 to 1996 Afghanistan was an arena for fighting between various leaders of mujahideen. Photo on the left: Kabul in 1993. "The New Stateman" (UK) wrote on September 19, 2005: "It is estimated that 50,000 residents of Kabul died between 1992 and 1994 as ethnic militias fought each other; countless more were raped and maimed. Human rights groups blame these and other atrocities on forces including those of Abdul Rasul Sayyaf (photo), a Pashtun leader with ties to Saudi Arabia, the northern Uzbek commander Abdul Rashid Dostum, and the deceased Tajik hero Ahmed Shah Massoud".

What is important about this period is that the same people are ruling Afghanistan today. For example, about Sayyaf, we read in Wikipedia: "As of 2007, Sayyaf is an influential member of parliament and has called for an amnesty for former mujahideen,.[2] Sayyaf was an announced candidate for the President of Afghanistan in the 2014 election, in which he received 7.04% of the vote in the first round".

Outside the "jihadists", a movement of religious students, called Taliban, was created by Pakistani secret services. Taliban put forward the slogans of end to war and Islamic order. Taliban was able to defeat the "jihadists", and from 1996 to 2001 most of Afghanistan was ruled by Taliban. Here is what "Encyclopedia Encarta" writes about it:

"After taking over Kābul, the Taliban created the Ministry for Ordering What Is Right and Forbidding What Is Wrong to impose and enforce its fundamentalist rules of behavior. The Taliban’s laws particularly affected women, who were ordered to cover themselves from head to toe in burkas (long, tentlike veils) (photograph), forbidden from attending school or working outside their homes, and publicly beaten if they were improperly dressed or escorted by men not related to them. The Taliban also made murder, adultery, and drug dealing punishable by death and made theft punishable by amputation of the hand."

We should add that in this period feudal landlords came back. 

3. Situation in the country after the U.S. invasion in 2001

"Operation Enduring Freedom, the Pentagon's name for the military campaign in Afghanistan, began just 26 days after 9/11" ("The New York Times"). On October 7th, 2001, the U.S. starts to bomb Afghanistan. On the photograph from 25 November 2001, we see 500 American marines preparing to board helicopters aboard "USS Peleliu", in the Arabian Sea. The helicopters ferried these soldiers to a base near Qandahar. At the same time, the Northern Alliance, i.e. the mojahedin who fought against the Taliban, have entered Kabul.  In December 2001, Taliban gave up their stronghold of Qandahar. From this time up to the present, Afghanistan is controlled by the Americans, with former warlords and criminals of Northern Alliance in administration of Pres. Karzai and sitting in the Parliament. They are "independent" Afghanistan.

A. Demography

In 2003, the population of Afghanistan numbered around 29 million people. 78% of the population lived in rural areas. One half of the urban population lives in Kabul.

Pashtuns make about 2/5 of the population. Most of them are either farmers or nomads. The nomads live in big tents and move their belongings on backs of animals, such as camels.

Tajiks is the second largest ethnic group in Afghanistan. They are mostly farmers, artisans and merchants. The Karzai administration is dominated by Tajiks, while the Taliban represents the interests of Pashtuns.

The third largest ethnic groups are the Hazaras. They are mostly farmers and sheepherders.

The life expectancy is around 44-45 years, one of the lowest in the world.

According to "Introductory Afghanistan Culture Primer for Marine Officers and SNCOs", “only about 12% of the land is arable. Over the last four years, drought in Afghanistan has destroyed agriculture even in these areas, partly accounting for the current desperate need for food". According to "San Francisco Chronicle", September 5, 2006, "At least 6.5 million people out of a population of between 21 and 26 million are dependent on food aid". In the picture on the right, we see food relief trucks from the U.N. We notice that two elders stand on the truck, presiding over the distribution of food.

Malnutrition is a cause of many physical health problems, such as  diarrhea, acute respiratory infection, and measles. The country also has a high incidence of people with mental health problems. The cause of these is probably the long period of civil war.

The infant mortality is 142 deaths for every 1000 live births, i.e. one of the highest in the world. A fifth of the children die before they reach the age of 5.

The society is poorly equipped in terms of medical care. San Francisco Chronicle writes that "Just 25 per cent of the population has access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation... There is just one doctor per 6,000 people, and one nurse per 2,500 people".

17% of population is disabled. Up to 100 people are killed or wounded by mines and unexploded ordnance every month. These people are dependents of their families. On the picture we see a man without an arm begging.

B. The economy

In 2000, some 2.4 million hectares of land were irrigated. The country badly needs irrigation network

A large part of the agriculture is devoted to production of drugs. Provincial officials and village elders defend drugs production. British and American officials agencies probably get a kickback from drug traffickers. Destruction of poppy fields is done for show purposes only. The size of opium production in the overall economy of Afghanistan is around 40%. According to "The New York Times", November 19, 2004, "More than 321,236 acres of land were planted with poppy in 2004, a 64 percent increase over last year, the United Nations survey found. Most of the money from this goes to drug traffickers, not farmers." 

However, by far the largest amount of money in Afghanistan is spent on war. The money comes from imperialism, and they hire thugs, "war lords", now ministers of the government, who run the country. By contrast, the peaceful economy of Afghanistan appears simply as an appendix to the war economy. 

The country has only 25 km of railroad track. Of the 21000 km of roads, only 13% are paved. A picture (below) illustrates a highway between Kabul and Quandahar in 2005, i.e. a major communication line.

The U.S. companies develop the infrastructure in a capitalist manner. The following excerpt is from "San Francisco Chronicle", September 5, 2006:

"Take, for example, the case of the Kabul-Kandahar Highway, featured on the USAID Web site as a proud accomplishment. (In five years, it's the only accomplishment in highway building in Afghanistan -- which is one better than the U.S. record building power stations, water systems, sewer systems or dams.) The highway was also featured in the Kabul Weekly newspaper in March 2005 under the headline, 'Millions Wasted on Second-Rate Roads.'

Afghan journalist Mirwais Harooni reported that even though other international companies had been ready to rebuild the highway for $250,000 per kilometer, the Louis Berger Group got the job at $700,000 per kilometer -- of which there are 389. Why? The standard American answer is that Americans do better work. (Though not Berger, which at the time was already years behind on another $665 million contract to build schools.)

Berger subcontracted Turkish and Indian companies to build the narrow two-lane, shoulderless highway at a final cost of about $1 million per mile; and anyone who travels it can see that it is already falling apart. (Former Minister of Planning Ramazan Bashardost complained that when it came to building roads, the Taliban did a better job.)

Now, in a move certain to tank President Hamid Karzai's approval ratings and further endanger U.S. and NATO troops in the area, the United States has pressured his government to turn this 'gift of the people of the United States' into a toll road and collect $20 a month from Afghan drivers. In this way, according to U.S. experts providing highly paid technical assistance, Afghanistan can collect $30 million annually from its impoverished citizens and thereby decrease the foreign aid 'burden' on the United States." 

In 2001 there were 1.5 telephone mainlines in use for every 1,000 inhabitants. One international telephone link is maintained through Iran. A good solution for Afghanistan would be developing satellite Internet, and this would automatically provide the population with cheap telephone connection.

Only the very rich, top 6% of the population, have access to electricity, mostly through diesel generators. "Some 76 percent of the energy used in Afghanistan comes from firewood and other traditional fuels burned in the home", and these include an animal dung.

Some refugees have returned to Afhganistan from Iran or Pakistan, but they are not able to find work (picture). So, many of them become thugs for drug traffickers. Women turn to prostitution, "children are kidnapped and sold into slavery or murdered for their kidneys or their eyes" (source: RAWA).

Children are in desperate need of schools. As it is, they roam around the streets like wild animals. On the photo a child is selling gum to buy bread; this child's dad has lost limbs, so the family is dependent on children to feed itself. The boy has never been to school.

Here is a statistic from "National Business Review", New Zealand, April 8, 2005: "in Kabul, a family of seven can earn 1.14 US$ a day if the head of the family is lucky enough to find employment, while they need to spend US$ 0.63 to buy twenty-one loaves of bread for the family. This implies that over 50 percent of an individual’s income is spent only on bread". With such an earning power, a family can not even dream about buying a computer, or a diesel generating electricity.

Yet, at the same time we hear of individuals buying luxurious watches for $4000 and building themselves luxurious mansions. In the two pictures below, we see two types of housing: one for the poor, unheated in winter, and the other for the rich.







Carol Mann, a founder and Director of the Paris-based "FemAid", makes a remark which is applicable to all Restoration regimes: "The defeat of positive reform in Afghanistan has produced a unique form of reactionary modernity, not regression to some kind of archaic past". Social Restoration can not completely restore the society to the condition in which it was prior to a revolution. A society under Restoration regime, is both reactionary and modern. For example, "Romanticism" in Europe in the time of Restoration in France has given us such composers as Chopin, and such writers as Walter Scott. 

During the Restoration period in Afghanistan we hear not only of long veils, but also of Internet and mobile phones. For example, a Russian traveler Sergey Zharov writes:

"At the moment of investigation (2004) the only place for public access to Internet was a garret of the "Intercontinental" hotel in Kabul. Satellite connection cost $5/hour, $3 for half an hour. There are about ten medium-level machines, and this place is oriented towards the clients of the hotel - journalists, humanitarians, the UN staff and other parasites. They even get one hour free each day.

There are no breakdowns, which is no wander with satellite connection and diesel generators. The speed is acceptable. For some reason, when you order a computer, they ask your name. Sometimes, there is a small line, especially in the evenings. The people are not local and most despicable. They try not to look at each other's eyes, never talk to each other."

And about mobile phones:

"You can buy a SIM card for a GSM telephone, or even the telephone itself, in the "Intercontinental" or in the airport of Kabul. Local calls cost 10 cents per minute. Calls to Russia or the US are a bit more than half a dollar."

Continued here






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