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Is the West Experiencing its "Afghanistan"?

by Erhard Crome Saturday, Jul. 01, 2006 at 12:28 PM

Captive in its foreign policy loss of reality, the Soviet Union was provoked to an invasion, suffered its "Vietnam," was internationally identified as an aggressor, lost its respect and endured a demoralization that led to the collapse of the Soviet Empire.


By Erhard Crome

[This article published in: Das Blattchen, 6/12/2006 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web,]

At the beginning of 2006, George W, Bush announced on his “Anti-Terror War” that the “security situation” in Iraq and Afghanistan had “improved.” In the middle of May, the heaviest clashes since the overthrow of the Taliban at the end of 2001 occurred in the capitol Kabul. The German government had claimed again and again that it was peaceful there.

Now the whole land is a battle zone. The guerilla offensives and attacks on western troops, on representatives of the Kabul government and on international relief organizations have expanded. If Afghanistan seemed peaceful and overshadowed by the attack on Iraq, this now proves to be a fallacy. Secret service experts in the US concede that the war in Afghanistan has developed an unexpected self-dynamic. The offensive of the insurgents becomes tactically more sophisticated. Radical Islamists who still fight against the US armed forces in Iraq obviously infiltrate Afghanistan and bring the experiences, “expertise” and equipment gathered in Iraq.

Is the West now experiencing its “Afghanistan”? In the past, “Afghanistan” stood in public consciousness for the defeat of the Soviet Union. On December 25, 1979, the invasion of Soviet troops began. However they could not really control the country at any moment. Up to the second half of the eighties, Moscow emissaries in the “brother countries” said new military actions, weapons and troops would solve “the Afghan problem this year.” At the end, the Soviet leadership had to admit defeat. In 1988, Gorbatchev announced withdrawal. On February 15, 1989, the last Soviet unit left Afghanistan. Altogether 62,000 Soviet soldiers were deployed…

Zbigniew Brezezinski, “security advisor” of US president Carter at the end of the seventies, described the Soviet Afghanistan war as a grandiose operation. Captive in its foreign policy loss of reality, the Soviet Union was provoked to an invasion, suffered its “Vietnam” as historical revenge for the actual Vietnam of the US a few years before, was internationally identified and charged as an aggressor, lost its respect among the Islamic countries and endured a demoralization that “ultimately led to the collapse of the Soviet empire.”

So Brzezinski explained in Le Nouvei Observateur in January 1998. To the interruption of the interviewer whether the US did not coddle Islamic fundamentalism, send weapons and armament and promote training, he replied: “What is more important for world history? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? A few irate Moslems or Central Europe’s liberation and the end of the Cold War?”

These are the words of an anti-communist descendant of the Polish nobility. For Afghanistan, this means the Soviet Union and the West waged a proxy war. The consequences were the complete destruction of the country, the most far-reaching disruption of political, economic and social conditions of the land and generations of fanaticized men. War is regarded as “normal” life, non-war as the exception and bloody violence as the usual form of conflict resolution. Today years after the Taliban was overthrown, Hamid Karsai is installed as president with the active collaboration of the German government while billions of euros flowed into the land. Afghanistan is still one of the six poorest countries of the world and with the greatest share of malnourished people. Sixty percent of the inhabitants lack adequate food.

Nearly ninety percent of world production of opium comes from this country. Its cultivation and transport amount to sixty percent of the Afghan economy. In the past there were no reports that the German army helped in the harvest but obviously the German army did nothing against drug cultivation. It is said of the new government that a new system of corruption flourishes, a corruption fed by the “assistance” of the West. All this is the background why Afghanistan lacks peace and calls of militant Islamism find an ever-stronger echo. The West obviously cannot bring “irate Moslems” to peace, only the cemetery of eternal rest.

If one digs deeper in the layers of history, the “experiences” that the West needs to gather today in Afghanistan and that the Soviet troops made were already made by the English when they ruled India and thought they were lords of the world. Britain’s first Afghanistan war occurred from 1839 to 1842. After their invasion, they seemed to advance. Soon they thought the conquest was completed. However one rebellion followed another in 1841. By the end of the year, they could not hold Kabul any more. On January 5, 1842, the Brits withdrew 4500 soldiers and a company of 12,000 personnel. They were attacked from all sides. At the end only a single man arrived in India to report on the events. During the second Afghanistan war in 1879/80, the English did not intend on occupying the land in the long run. They only wanted to insure that the Shah remained independent in relation to Russia. They paid a hefty yearly allowance and withdrew again.

A war against Afghans cannot be won. The policy of the West including Germany is now on a steep path on which the English in the 19th century and the Russians in the 20th century plunged into ruin. The German government will have much to explain to people in Germany. “The young” should return immediately. They have nothing to gain except the zinc coffin.

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