Statement by Black Alliance for Peace
The crisis unfolding in Afghanistan remains bleak. With an estimated 23 million Afghans—more than 50 percent of the population—still facing extreme levels of hunger, more people could die of starvation in 2022 alone than from the last 20 years of the U.S.-led occupation. While the duopoly in Washington, D.C., distracts the public with its most recent manufactured crisis in Ukraine, it is waging a far deadlier one in Afghanistan through the economic blockade the Biden administration has inhumanely imposed since last year.
To make matters worse, Biden signed an executive order on February 11 that suggests $7 billion in stolen Afghan funds may be split—without a single cent going directly to the Afghan people.
The pending order would allow 9/11 plaintiffs who won a judgment in the United States against the Taliban to seize half the funds and would funnel the rest into U.S. “aid” channels. Not only does this give money to Western non-governmental “aid” organizations that have historically functioned as weaponized forms of “humanitarian” intervention. It also furthers the false narrative that the Taliban had anything to do with the September 11, 2001 attacks, ultimately blaming the entire population of Afghanistan for actions carried out by mostly Saudi and Emirati nationals.
With a cold-blooded ruthlessness that for too long has been routine for the U.S. empire, rather than lift sanctions and actually return the billions in stolen assets—a move that would all but end the current humanitarian crises—the Biden administration has made a clear choice: Let Afghanistan starve.
In the context of this horror, the real “winner” of the war on Afghanistan could not be more obvious: The military–industrial complex. For members of this class—notably, retired top-level military officers—the war on Afghanistan was far from a failure.
For example, $10,000 of stock evenly divided among the top five “defense” contractors (Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman) on September 18, 2001—the day U.S. President George W. Bush signed the Authorization for Use of Military Force in response to the 9/11 attacks—would now be worth almost $100,000.
As for the rest of the imperialist ruling class—organized under the U.S./EU/NATO Axis of Domination—they are not finished. As the elites in Washington desperately attempt to maintain hegemonic control over a world in revolt, more profit has yet to be made. Despite having withdrawn from Afghanistan, Biden is predicted to propose another record breaking Pentagon budget for next year, potentially pushing the total to $800 billion in 2023.
The Pan-European, colonial-capitalist white-supremacist patriarchy is not going to go away quietly. The warhawks and imperialists of the duopoly in Washington are poised to profit even more in the coming years. As long as war remains this profitable, they will pursue it at breakneck speeds. However, that is only if they have their way with leading their waning empire headlong into wars with China and Russia. In the face of a rising counter-hegemonic resistance—both internationally and domestically—it remains to be seen if they will succeed.
For colonized, oppressed and poor people around the world, the struggle continues.
*Featured Image: A mother with her child at the Indira Gandhi Children’s Hospital in Kabul in January. (Jim Huylebroek/The New York Times)