The forces of the NATO in Afghanistan are carrying out an offensive in the province of Helmand, in the South of the country, since February 15th. Fifteen thousand occupying troops were deployed, in one of the provinces where the Taliban has more influence and control.
The imperialism’s strategy is to force Taliban to get out of the towns. After the offensive, the purpose is to stabilize the region by the action of Afghan forces and 1,900 Afghan policemen, trained by North American officers, which would assume specific tasks.
The military command announced amid a lot of hype the takeover of the city of Marjah, capital of the province. Furthermore, it was announced the prison of Abdul Ghani Baradar in Pakistan, second leader of Taliban, especially commemorated by the imperialist media for being the result of a coordinated action with Pakistanis security bodies.
However, in spite of these pretended triumphs, the military offensive does not seem to succeed. On the contrary, it gives the impression of sinking into the mud. Troops found a startling resistance of well trained sharpshooters of Taliban. Besides, the attacks of imperialist forces killed a great number of civilians in more than one occasion, causing political issues and the protest of Karzai himself, head of the puppet government. The occupying troops’ head office was bound to apologize and to justify the “error” accusing the Taliban of using civilians as a human shield.
The protests against the bombing of civilians reflect the disgust at the conscious US policy – during most of the eight years of war – of carrying out indiscriminate bombings that destroyed villages and killed entire families. In the last period, the US administration, aware of his attrition, has sought to avoid the bombing of civilians in order to earn the support of the towns. This was the aim of General Mc Chrystal, when he took head of the American troops in the country. Whence, the occurrence of new bombings of civil population on the current offensive increases the attrition of the occupation and produces political reactions, even of Karzai.
On the other hand, the Taliban launched a series of attacks on hotels of Kabul, the national capital, showing they hadn’t lost their power of action. Sixteen people were killed, just two weeks after the offensive had begun, in the first assault on this city since January 18th.
It is necessary to add to this framework the internal political situation and the problems caused by war to the American and European imperialisms. There is an increasing opposition of the European people to the presence of their countries in the Afghan war. This is the case, for instance, of England, Spain and Germany. In Holland, the parliamentary government fell recently, due to the popular pressure and to divergences between the bourgeoisie about the involvement in the occupation and troops deployment. Additionally, the discomfort caused by the occupation is increasing in US.
There are two fundamental problems in this stage of the war. In the military aspect, the offensive happens after many problems endured by the imperialist forces in 2009. It was the worst year for NATO forces, with 520 casualties in combat. On the other hand, the Taliban moved forward, in political and military influence. Afghanistan has 36 provinces and the Taliban has strong presence, when not control, over 30 of them. In other words, the offensive in Helmand cannot defeat the Taliban nor even weaken it decisively.
That is why such an objective is not placed by the imperialism. US strategy is not to carry out an offensive to destroy the Taliban, but to pressure it, so as to get better negotiation conditions for the imperialism.
What conditions would they be? The incorporation of Taliban into the State institutions and the Afghan government, in charge of political positions in the administration, under the complete control of the imperialism. In return, the group would put an end to military actions and would accept the installation of North American military bases and troops. On the other hand, occupying troops would stop intervening in ostensive policing actions and on internal security.
One of the hypothesis assessed by the imperialism is the assimilation of the Taliban military organization by the Afghan Army, in the same way several guerilla rebel forces were dismantled in many countries. In this context, the internal security would be taken on by the Army, completely financed and controlled by the imperialism.
One of the greater evidences of this strategy was the Conference over Afghanistan, which met in London in January 28th. The event, sponsored by the UN and invader countries, such as England and United States, was attended by delegations of more than 60 countries. In the meeting, Hamid Karzai, president of Afghanistan, presented a conciliation plan with the Taliban that, according to the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo, foresees, “the reintegration of members of all the Taliban’s levels”.
According to this publication, “…20 to 30 thousand combatants will receive money and employment offers, financed by international allies’ donations. The leaders of the group would, furthermore … obtain spaces in the structure of national government”.
To begin the negotiation process, Karzai would need the assistance of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, two out of the three countries that recognized the Taliban rule before his overthrow in 2001.
So to leave perfectly clear the bargaining strategy, the conference also stipulated that in next December, or January 2011, will begin the gradual passage of the responsibility for the security of each Province to the Afghan Army. The concluding conference report foresees that the Afghans should drive the most part of the operations in conflict areas within three years and, in five years, in charge of the security of all the country.
All this imperialism strategy is a coherent attempt to diminish political and military costs of a lost war and to get out of the mud in which it has sunk. However, it’s fair to ask: has someone agreed it with the enemy? Is Taliban going to follow the way planned by imperialism and to capitulate as a result of the combined action of negotiation and armed pressure?
Undoubtedly this is possible; we can’t forget Taliban is, in fact, a bourgeois movement, and a very reactionary one. But up to now they have been under arms against imperialism and are prone to succeed, not only in the military arena, but also and mostly, in earning the political support of the majority of the township. They have already rejected the first negotiation proposals made by Karzai. Therefore, the imperialist occupying forces and the puppet government will have a difficult task ahead, whose contradictions have been brought by the current offensive. There is no exit from the mud at sight.