Six years after the invasion, the overthrow of the Taleban regime, the installation of a client regime that is now steeped in corruption, the deaths of thousands of people and an aid programme that is failing dismally, Prime Minister Gordon Brown has set out Britain’s 'plan B' for Afghanistan. Given the appalling record of destruction, matched only by the chaos that is Iraq, it is no surprise that people are sceptical about the likelihood of these new plans to bring peace and stability to the region, and cynical about the motives behind the on-going intervention. Corruption, poverty and insecurity have all worsened in Afghanistan under occupation. This "free, democratic" Afghanistan has levels of poverty comparable to sub-Saharan Africa, as well as 120,000 women and 60,000 children who are amongst Afghanistan's new drug users, giving a new meaning to the term "liberation" that is entirely in keeping with intervention by capitalist liberal states.
One has to ask if this is what western politicians mean when they boast that they have brought democracy to Afghanistan . People want more than a rigged vote labelled as democracy. They want stability, security and a decent standard of living. Not death, destruction and poverty. They want Islamic values, and not to be liberated to enjoy cannabis and heroin.
Given the deepening crisis in Afghanistan it is no wonder that Brown is suggesting this new plan. He has to win hearts and minds in Britain, and justify the billions spent from taxpayer’s money, as well as justify the many troop casualties. However, the hearts and minds in the Muslim world are already lost. The worsening security and worsening poverty prove this military venture has not been about ensuring a more peaceful world, or about humanitarian intervention, but has been about Britain fighting its corner in a new colonial Great Game. Sadly, the people of Afghanistan are the victims of this competition between Russia, Britain and the US , in this most strategically and materially important region.
On Security, Brown has proposed that it be under the auspices of ISAF and the Afghan national army. Yet under their watch the UN estimates that violent incidents are up at least 20 percent since the previous year. In November 2007 they criticised international troops for killing civilians at 'alarming levels'. It is NATO troop presence that fuels the insecurity. Moreover the UN high commissioner also raised concerns about whether ISAF was turning detainees over to torture in Afghan custody. Amnesty International said that NATO forces in Afghanistan have handed detainees to Afghan security services (the NDS) despite reports that they torture their prisoners.
On economic development the current record is shameful. Almost half of the US ' aid budget goes directly to fatten the profits of five US contractors. Much has been squandered on profits for companies or subcontractors, or spent on high salaries and living expenses for expatriate staff (each full-time expatriate consultant costs up to $500000 a year.) Only $270 million of the $15 billion of aid has been spent on the agricultural sector when this is the major source of income for 80 percent of Afghans. Heroin production is up since the occupation, providing 93 percent of the world's opium supply. Tragically the rates of addiction within Afghanistan have increased sharply since 2003 to nearly 4 percent of the population.
On political development, even Karzai himself cannot hide the levels of corruption. The democratic parliament is packed with former warlords, who voted themselves an amnesty from war crimes earlier this year. Large profits from Afghanistan's $3-billion opium crop, funds skimmed from aid and reconstruction contracts and bribes for services all fuel official corruption. One elderly parliamentarian addressed Karzai saying "The government and cabinet members are sucking the blood of innocent people; we can't tolerate the corruption in every government office.”
The on-going western occupation and interference only fuels the desire for an independent Islamic Caliphate where authority lies with people; where elected representatives cannot vote themselves an amnesty from prosecution; where the laws and values are those based on the beliefs, heritage and values of the population; where the executive is wholly accountable and has to stand up for the interests of its citizens and not for those of foreign governments.
Western governments will never admit that their repeated interventions trying to ‘fix’ what they themselves have broken will only create more problems. They show no signs of wanting to leave the Muslim world so that it may shape its own future and political destiny. Stability can only come when a system of government enjoys the trust and confidence of the people and that will only come when Islam lies at the heart of the system. Any People wanting to have the rulers they chose, and are not not be forced to accept stooges who represent foreign interests.
Chairman UK Executive Committee
13th December 2007