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Home > 2021 > The U.S. and the Taliban or Frankenstein and his Monster | Sukumaran (...)

Mainstream, VOL LIX No 36, New Delhi, August 28, 2021

The U.S. and the Taliban or Frankenstein and his Monster | Sukumaran C.V.

Friday 27 August 2021, by Sukumaran C.V.

The nation called Afghanistan has never been allowed to be a sovereign state. It has always been an occupied country, first by the erstwhile USSR, then by the U.S. and the terrorists created by the U.S. and now by the Taliban (which also is the creation of the U.S.). Mullah Mohammed Omar who created Taliban was a mujahideen fighter and it was mainly the U.S. which generously funded and provided arms and ammunition to the mujahideen for the proxy war against the USSR. When the Taliban captured Kabul in 1996, Najibullah, the then President of Afghanistan, was dragged out of the UN compound in which he sought shelter, tortured, shot dead and hanged from an electric post outside the presidential palace. But the U.S. didn’t feel to wage the war on terrorism. When the twin towers of the World Trade Centre were destroyed, in Sept. 2001, by the terrorists, with hijacked passenger planes, killing thousands of Americans, the U.S. felt to wage the war on terror, and it has been waging the war ever since, but terrorism could never be vanquished and, 20 years after, the U.S. shamelessly made a deal with terrorism and left Afghanistan!

Whether it is under the U.S. occupation or in the Taliban rule, the people of Afghanistan suffer the same way. See what Derrick Jensen says about the Americans’ deeds in Afghanistan in his two-volume book Endgame: " Afghan soldier stated, "I was a witness when an American soldier broke one prisoner’s neck. The Americans did whatever they wanted. We had no power to stop them." The bodies of their victims were left to be eaten by dogs."

This is the same thing about the Taliban too. It does whatever it wants. The Afghans have no power to stop it. That is all. The continuous occupation of the hapless nation both by the foreign elements and by the fanatics since the time of the USSR has destroyed its spontaneous development into a democracy, making the people victims of either the imperialist powers or of the fanatics.

The chaos we witness today in Afghanistan is the end result of the U.S. bombing and occupation of that country in the name of War on Terrorism, which itself has been a kind of terrorism.

And this farce called the war on terror neither could win over terrorism nor could make Afghanistan a democratic nation, instead of pushing the shattered nation and its hapless people into the hands of the fanatics more forcefully. The U.S., in the name of protecting democracy and women’s rights which were at stake in the Taliban controlled Afghanistan, occupied the nation making the world believe that the U.S. is obliged to safeguard human-rights all over the world; and after 20 years left stealthily making a deal with the same fanatics they have been fighting! We can rightly say that the U.S. is the Frankenstein and the Taliban is the monster created by it.

Mary Shelley’s one and only novel Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus is the story of man’s over-ambition to conquer the power of Nature boomeranging with destructive powers that can’t be controlled by man. Victor Frankenstein, the protagonist of the novel, is possessed with the idea of creating a human being. When he infuses life into the large figure he created, he himself is horrified to see the ‘daemon’. He locks it up in his study room but it escapes and goes into the world. The monster wishes to love and to be loved, to help others, to be accepted as one among the people. But everybody who sees it is frightened and it is shunned by everyone. When people see it, they gather and chase it away. At last the crestfallen ‘daemon’ feels hatred against his creator for creating him and makes Frankenstein the most tragic figure by killing every member of his family. The monster Frankenstein created destroyed its creator, but both the U.S. and the monster created by the U.S. wreaked/wreak havoc on the innocent people of Afghanistan.

In A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn says: "On the supposition that the Islamic militant Osama Bin Laden was responsible for the September 11 attacks, and he was somewhere in Afghanistan, Bush ordered the bombing of Afghanistan. Bush had declared as his objective the destruction of the Islamic militant organisation Al Qaeda....It seemed that the United States was reacting to the horrors perpetrated by terrorists against innocent people in New York by killing other innocent people in Afghanistan....the full extent of the human catastrophe caused by the bombing of Afghanistan was not being conveyed to the Americans by the mainstream press..." (Chapter 25—The 2000 Election and the "War on Terrorism")

The stated objective of the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan was the destruction of Islamic terrorism. But after twenty years, they have made a deal with the same terrorists and left the country stealthily. And what the world is witnessing today is the full extent of the human catastrophe caused by the U.S. bombing and occupation of Afghanistan. The statements of Taliban that there will be no democratic system at all and only Sharia law, make it clear that the fate of the people of Afghanistan, especially girls and women, is going to be bleak.

In the chapter titled “Why civilization is killing the world, Part I”, of his book Endgame (Volume I), the American environmentalist writer Derrick Jensen says: “In Vietnam, the CIA set up its notorious Operation Phoenix, a systematic program of assassination, terror, and torture. It condoned confining prisoners in “tiger cages,” five-by-nine-by-six-foot stone compartments, where three to five men would be shackled to the floor, beaten, mutilated. Their legs would wither, and they would become paralyzed, or at best reduced for the rest of their miserable lives to scuttling like crabs. Buckets of lime were emptied upon them. Elsewhere in Vietnam, CIA assets applied electric shocks to victims’ genitals and threw victims out of helicopters in order to force their associates to talk. More recently in Afghanistan, U.S.-backed troops loaded 3,000 prisoners into container trucks, sealed the doors, and left these to stand for days in the sun. A U.S. commander ordered an Afghan soldier to shoot bullets through the containers’ walls to provide air holes. Soon enough, blood began to stream from the containers’ bottoms. Those victims who survived were dumped in the desert and shot ...”

Howard Zinn says in the aforementioned chapter of A People’s History of the United States: “A journalist with the Boston Globe, writing from a hospital in Jalalabad, wrote: “In one bed lay Noor Mohammad, 10, who was a bundle of bandages. He lost his eyes and hands to the bombs that hit his house after Sunday dinner....The hospital’s morgue received 17 bodies last weekend....In the hospital yesterday, a bomb’s damage could be chronicled in the life of one family. A bomb had killed the father, Faizal Karim. In one bed his wife who had severe head injuries....Around her, six of her children were in bandages...One of them, Zahidullah, 8, lay in a coma.””

If the people of Afghanistan are willingly recruited into the camps of ISIS and Taliban, can you stop them by military action? Can you intimidate people like the young boy Zahidullah by military action, when they were forced to be terrorists by the same monster called military action? Can we blame the Afghan soldier who was ordered to shoot bullets through the containers in which his own fellow citizens were crammed, if he transformed into a terrorist? Violence breeds violence.

The so called ‘war on terror’ started immediately after the 9/11, twenty years ago and it has been going on relentlessly ever since. And today the world witnesses the end result of the twenty years’ war on terror in Afghanistan, where the same terrorists whom the U.S. and the NATO have been jointly fighting, rule now and kill women for not wearing face veil; where people are seen falling from planes while trying to flee the country by clinging onto the tyres of a plane when it was taking off; where desperate mothers are seen throwing their babies into the hands of the foreign soldiers who were leaving the country, believing that at least their babies will escape from Taliban!

We couldn’t have believed such horrible news as the following if we had not seen the visuals: "At the Kabul airport, civilians and foreign troops have been separated by a barbed wire fence. A British officer said he is worried about his troops as they are crying at night after seeing women throwing their children over the barbed wires. The mothers were desperate, they were getting beaten by the Taliban. They shouted, ’save my baby’ and threw the babies at us. Some of the babies fell on the barbed wires. It was awful what happened. By the end of the night there wasn’t one man among us who was not crying."

Mothers throwing their babies into the hands of the soldiers in order to save them and the soldiers weeping seeing such sights may be unfolding for the first time in the history of the humans, I presume. And the U.S.can’t wash its hands off the responsibility of bringing the people of Afghanistan into such chaos and horrors.

Derrick Jensen starts his two-volume book Endgame thus: "Last Tuesday the twin towers of the World Trade Center collapsed, killing thousands of people." Then he says: "Let’s tell this story again: Last Tuesday nineteen Arab terrorists unleashed their fanaticism on United States by hijacking four planes, each containing scores of innocent victims. These terrorists, who don’t value life the way we Americans do, slammed two of the planes into the World Trade Center and a third into the Pentagon...."

And he continues: "Here is another version of the same story: Last Tuesday nineteen young men made their mothers proud. They gave their lives to strike a blow against the United States, the greatest terrorist state ever to exist...."

Then again: "Here’s another version: Last Tuesday was a tragedy for the planet, and at least a temporary victory for rage and hatred. But let us not seek to pinpoint blame, nor meet negativity with negativity. The terrorists were wrong to act as they did, but to meet their violence with our own would be just as wrong. Violence never solves anything. As Gandhi said, "An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind."..."

But the U.S. met negativity with negativity and the violence of the terrorists with theirs. As Jensen says in the sixth chapter titled Violence: "Even if the primary target of these bombs were members of the Afghan military (or terrorists, whatever or whomever they may be) those who were killed were mainly just people trying to survive. "We were farmers," said Kamal Huddin, after American planes made four passes over Kama Ado, his home village, killing more than half of the three hundred people who lived there. "We were poor people. And we didn’t have any contact with any organisations." It’s no surprise that people like these—people living in mud huts with straw roofs, using wooden plows to till the soil exactly as their ancestors did—were killed....I have seen pictures of the dead, dark-haired children laid out on mattresses...It is not acceptable in the United States to talk about these dead children. The official United States and capitalist media have declared it so. The Chair of CNN, Walter Isaacson, ordered journalists who work for CNN not to focus on the killing of Afghan citizens by the U.S. military....He went on to admonish his reporters who cover civilian deaths that they should never forget that it is "that country’s leaders who are responsible for the situation Afghanistan is now in," perhaps forgetting that the same argument could just as easily be used to ignore the dead in this country."

The sane voices like that of Howard Zinn and Derrick Jensen are not listened to and the warmongering people are applauded in our world. What we witness in Afghanistan today is the result of the violent mindset that belongs not only to the Taliban but also to the democracies. If even the democracies fail to learn the truth that violence breeds violence and not ready to shun it, can we expect the fanatics to learn the truth and shun violence?

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