Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! We only ask one time of year, but when we do, we mean it. Without your support we can’t continue to bring you the very best material, day-in and day-out. CounterPunch is one of the last common spaces on the Internet. Help make sure it stays that way.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Afghanistan and Zaire

by Dr. A. Tajudeen

Human beings can get used to anything: pain or pleasure. And in this day and age of globalized media culture fed by saturation coverage and repetitive drudgery our attention span has become even shorter. It is not just interest that dwindles but even our understanding of the ‘big’ events may not be wiser. It is like the magicians’ abracadabra: the more you see the less you understand.

And so it is with ‘the war against terrorism’ that began , if my memory is still serving me well, as a search for the perpetrators of the attacks on Washington and New York on September 11. To the best of my knowledge, the actual culprits died in the attacks along with their victims. Since they had died attention shifted to those suspected (individuals and countries) of instigating, facilitating or inspiring such ‘terrorist’ attacks. Osama bin Laden became the main ‘suspect’ being sought for the atrocities. As a ‘guest’ of the Taliban in Afghanistan it was to be expected that pressures would be brought to bear on them to hand over their guest. Like them or loathe them, the Taliban did have initial ‘reasonable’ demands. Like many they demanded for ‘proof’ especially when those accusing him were also those judging him and most likely be the executors of their own verdict. They had another point, which because of their pariah status, most people did not take continence of. They said bin Laden was their guest and both culturally and spiritually they could not, without incontrovertible evidence, hand over their guest, to his accusers. Who cares for fine details of cultural restraint and sensitivity in the face of the atrocities?

The search for bin Laden slowly became a deadline for the Taliban to hand him over or be crushed and pushed out of power. Now they have been pushed out of power but the Americans and their allies are nowhere near catching the Caveman.

The UN is now desperately trying to install a government of National Unity among the disparate Afghani groups after weeks of dog fights in Germany. The language of nation-building reminiscent of the 1950s and 1960s has regained a new currency that would make the dying specie of former colonial officials wallow in nostalgia.

Has the Al-Qaeda network been destroyed or at least cowed? Would the Northern Alliance and their new allies put in charge by external forces be able to do better than before and bring the suffering of their peoples to an end?

Somehow I cannot help drawing parallels with the exit of Mobutu in former Zaire by an essentially regional military alliance in which the Zaireois played second fiddle or were onlookers, in their own liberation. We are living with the tragic consequences of that with no immediate respite in sight. As they rode to power on US military might, the Northern Alliance forces in their fresh-from-factory army uniforms reminded me of Kabila’s so-called troops and their crisp uniforms soon after the capture of Kinshasa became a distinct possibility as one major city or the other began to fall under the onslaught of Rwandese and Ugandan armies in 1997.

As with Kabila the new groupings in Kabul will have to show and be seen to be Afghani government rather than a government beholden to its foreign sponsors. On the other hand the US and her allies will only tolerate a government that does not ask why when it wants it to jump. If it asks any question at all they are prepared for only: how high?

The alliance of convenience that has made Russia, India, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and all the other ‘stans’ in the region to collude with the US in Afghanistan may soon unravel as their individual regional, economic and other strategic interests are brought to bear on the unwieldy alliance. Like the Congo, Afghanistan has many neighbours and all of them would like to have a say in how the country is governed. A government based disproportionately on regional strategic considerations may not be able to hold the country together. It could be very weak and successively weakened by these interests as is the case with DRC today.

Then there is the added problem of US’s overbearing presence. Can you imagine the US allowing a new ‘broad based’ government in Kabul to have jurisdiction (let alone Sovereign powers) over the course of the continuing war against Osama? For how long would this war continue with US veto especially now that the Hawks in the US establishment seem to be winning the push for escalation of the war beyond Afghanistan? The new Kabul leaders may have the benefit of President Bush remembering their names. In this alone, they will be luckier than his new ‘great ally’ in the region, General Musharaf of Pakistan whose name he could not even recall on life television during his presidential campaign last year. Somehow one cannot shake off the foreboding that it is not yet Uhuru for the ordinary Afghanis in spite of all appearances and promises to the contrary.

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 28, 2016
Eric Draitser
Stop Trump! Stop Clinton!! Stop the Madness (and Let Me Get Off)!
Ted Rall
The Thrilla at Hofstra: How Trump Won the Debate
Patrick Cockburn
Cracks in the Kingdom: Saudi Arabia Rocked by Financial Strains
Lowell Flanders
Donald Trump, Islamophobia and Immigrants
Shane Burley
Defining the Alt Right and the New American Fascism
Jan Oberg
Ukraine as the Border of NATO Expansion
Ramzy Baroud
Ban Ki-Moon’s Legacy in Palestine: Failure in Words and Deeds
David Swanson
How We Could End the Permanent War State
Sam Husseini
Debate Night’s Biggest Lie Was Told by Lester Holt
Laura Carlsen
Ayotzinapa’s Message to the World: Organize!
Binoy Kampmark
The Triumph of Momentum: Re-Electing Jeremy Corbyn
David Macaray
When the Saints Go Marching In
Seth Oelbaum
All Black Lives Will Never Matter for Clinton and Trump
Adam Parsons
Standing in Solidarity for a Humanity Without Borders
Cesar Chelala
The Trump Bubble
September 27, 2016
Louisa Willcox
The Tribal Fight for Nature: From the Grizzly to the Black Snake of the Dakota Pipeline
Paul Street
The Roots are in the System: Charlotte and Beyond
Jeffrey St. Clair
Idiot Winds at Hofstra: Notes on the Not-So-Great Debate
Mark Harris
Clinton, Trump, and the Death of Idealism
Mike Whitney
Putin Ups the Ante: Ceasefire Sabotage Triggers Major Offensive in Aleppo
Anthony DiMaggio
The Debates as Democratic Façade: Voter “Rationality” in American Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Punishing the Punished: the Torments of Chelsea Manning
Paul Buhle
Why “Snowden” is Important (or How Kafka Foresaw the Juggernaut State)
Jack Rasmus
Hillary’s Ghosts
Brian Cloughley
Billions Down the Afghan Drain
Lawrence Davidson
True Believers and the U.S. Election
Matt Peppe
Taking a Knee: Resisting Enforced Patriotism
James McEnteer
Eugene, Oregon and the Rising Cost of Cool
Norman Pollack
The Great Debate: Proto-Fascism vs. the Real Thing
Michael Winship
The Tracks of John Boehner’s Tears
John Steppling
Fear Level Trump
Lawrence Wittner
Where Is That Wasteful Government Spending?
James Russell
Beyond Debate: Interview Styles of the Rich and Famous
September 26, 2016
Diana Johnstone
The Hillary Clinton Presidency has Already Begun as Lame Ducks Promote Her War
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Against Russia
Dave Lindorff
Parking While Black: When Police Shoot as First Resort
Robert Crawford
The Political Rhetoric of Perpetual War
Howard Lisnoff
The Case of One Homeless Person
Michael Howard
The New York Times Endorses Hillary, Scorns the World
Russell Mokhiber
Wells Fargo and the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival
Chad Nelson
The Crime of Going Vegan: the Latest Attack on Angela Davis
Colin Todhunter
A System of Food Production for Human Need, Not Corporate Greed
Brian Cloughley
The United States Wants to Put Russia in a Corner
Guillermo R. Gil
The Clevenger Effect: Exposing Racism in Pro Sports
David Swanson
Turn the Pentagon into a Hospital
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail