Here’s the result of the USA’s aid to the mujahideen… a great thank you, wasn’t it?
The Soviet Union was the first to become involved in the geopolitical game that the West is now playing…
Thirty-one years ago, the Soviet Union sent its first contingent of troops into Afghanistan. This event has passed into history, so, we shouldn’t interpret it ideologically or use contemporary standards to judge it. In the West, and not only there, many clearly thought that the Soviet leadership’s decision to invade Afghanistan brought only negative consequences to the Soviet Union and Afghanistan. In fact, this step of the Soviet leadership, like many events in history, was complex and ambiguous. It didn’t have any purely negative effects, but there weren’t any completely positive outcomes stemming from it, either. Critics were mistaken in thinking that so-called Soviet totalitarianism was completely in the wrong, just as they were mistaken in believing that the so-called Western democracies were innocent and guiltless.
Of course, there’s no denying that the Soviet decision to invade Afghanistan resulted in significant suffering, both for ordinary Afghans and for ordinary Soviet citizens. The war in Afghanistan imposed a heavy burden on the Soviet economy, overshadowed the domestic political scene, and the confrontation between the East and West blocs rose to a higher level. However, it’s also impossible to deny the fact that the Soviet presence in Afghanistan also had positive aspects. The Soviet Union, at great cost, carried out modernisation projects in Afghanistan, which laid the framework for the current Afghan economy. Everything that, somehow, still functions in Afghanistan had its genesis in projects initiated during the Soviet military presence. If the Soviets hadn’t done this, then, Afghanistan would have remained mired in the Middle Ages, and the situation would have been much worse than what we see today.
The fact remains that the Soviet presence helped open the minds of many Afghanis. A small cadre of educated Afghanis arose, not only amongst the leadership, but also in all the country’s ethnic groups. The Soviet Union conducted major educational efforts in Afghanistan; this wasn’t restricted only to those the Soviet Union needed to realise its ideological ambitions, such as government officials and military personnel. Rather, we must point up that the primary focus of the Soviet effort in Afghanistan was to establish a broad general curriculum, introducing modern standards in primary and secondary education, and founding a higher education system. Before then, Afghanistan lacked anything of the sort.
Responsible Soviet officials realised that modernisation in Afghanistan would be impossible without building up the people. You could invest millions in the construction of mines, energy facilities, and industrial plant, but without involving the Afghans in the process, without forming new skills amongst the people who would work in these facilities and services, nothing coherent would come of all the effort. Today, unfortunately, the educational system established during the Soviet presence, especially higher education, has degenerated.
In the West, pundits called the presence of Soviet troops in Afghanistan an attempt to push Soviet ideology, to increase the number of its satellite states. The Soviet Union was the first to become involved in the geopolitical game that the West is now playing. Nevertheless, this shouldn’t obscure the lessons that the Soviet presence in Afghanistan taught us. The main warning is that any attempt to modernise Afghanistan on an ideological foundation, whether the basis is communism or Western neoliberal “democracy”, is doomed to failure. Eventually, the Soviet Union had to withdraw from Afghanistan. Today, the Western coalition is coming to the same impasse that the Soviets did, and this applies not only to their military presence. Any attempt to rebuild Afghanistan according to the idiosyncratic moral vision of the Western Coalition lacks any future.
There is another important point related to the Soviet presence in Afghanistan. Critics of the Soviet action argue that, because of it, it led to the rise of radical Islamocism seen today. Such criticism is duplicitous. The level of Islamisation of Afghan society before the Soviet troops came, and after they withdrew, remained about the same. One has to realise that many of the enemies of the Soviet Union used Islamocist rhetoric to build up resistance to the Soviet military presence. They reworked Islamic ideas, reinterpreting the concept of jihad in their own way. These ideas of Islamic radicalism and jihadism weren’t native; they weren’t from the Afghan people. They came from offices in intelligence agencies in certain countries, hundreds, or even thousands, of kilometres from Afghanistan. These agencies introduced the Wahhabists from Saudi Arabia and other Arab states, and Western states armed and equipped them for a proxy war against the Soviet Union. Amongst these groups was Al Qaeda. The West doesn’t quite deny that this happened, but they don’t like to talk about it, either. Recognition of the facts wouldn’t be pleasant for the members of the former and current Western élite. Moreover, it would lead Western societies to ask themselves a fair question… “What was our role in the emergence of those with whom we fight today?”
24 December 2010
Voice of Russia World Service
Let’s keep this focused. The USA favoured groups that fought for Muslim theocratic despotism over those that wanted a secular national republic. The CIA funded bin Laden and brought him and his minions from Saudi Arabia to Afghanistan. Later, in 1992, the USA pressured Russia to stop supporting the DRA, as the DRA was holding its own against the Islamocists with Russian aid. Ergo, the Islamocists took over the country… with the USA’s blessing. In short, if bin Laden attacked the USA in the late 90s… if his cabal planned and executed the 9/11 attack… the USA can’t complain! He was their creature… they created him… they armed him… they funded him. Today, the USA supports the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and the Republican Party smiles a drooling leer of approval when the Karzai junta persecutes local Christians… it’s good for business, and what’s good for business (and the oligarch’s bottom line) is good for the country.
I think that there’s something SERIOUSLY wrong with this picture.