Afghanistan: Loya Jirga - Adding insult to injury

This is an article from the current Asian Marxist Review on the Loya Jirga, an ancient pre-feudal tradition that is being resurrected by the imperialists to give an illusion of democracy in Afghanistan and to justify their aggression and the rule of their puppets.

Contrary to the perspectives of most liberal/bourgeois intellectuals and the barrage of propaganda by the imperialist media, the mayhem in Afghanistan is intensifying rather than receding. The killing of 10 Pakistan army personnel in Wana, Waziristan, the death of more than 35 people in the blowing up of the ammunition dump in Spin Boldak on the Pak-Afghan border and the killing of 200 people including children in a marriage ceremony in Afghanistan by American bombers are events which defy the proscriptions by bourgeois experts.

The Loya Jirga, an ancient pre-feudal tradition held under the shadows of imperialist bayonets to install democracy is an insult to the masses of this war ravaged country. This Jirga was held not to give the people of Afghanistan the "present of democracy" but to justify the imperialist aggression and the rulership of its puppets.

If the Loya Jirga could be held by Genghis Khan, then it is not very strange if George Bush also convenes it. In reality there is not much difference in the present policies of George W. Bush and those executed by Genghis Khan in the twelfth century. The only difference is that Bush has more sophisticated and destructive weaponry.

The participants of the Jirga comprise of mainly the afghan elite who fled with their wealth to the West after the 1978 Saur [spring] Revolution and the Afghan war lords who have been fighting for loot and power in and around their fiefdoms. The main aim of this congregation was to reach an agreement on the loot of the warlords and the continuation of the plunder of Afghan resources (including pipelines) by the imperialist conglomerates in which the "returned" elite could be agents with hefty commissions.

History is witness to the fact that such agreements amongst robbers, thieves and pirates always ends up in bigger feuds over the sharing out of loot. The Afghan aristocracy which has come from America and Europe are here on a sort of a business trip. They have come to compile reports for their imperialist bosses on how Afghanistan can be further plundered. For that they have to become part of the new regime in Afghanistan. It's another thing how long they will be able to stay!

The most important lesson from imperialist colonialisation has been that in almost every case the patterns of socio-economic development have been truncated and paralytic. Hence this whole concept of developing Afghanistan under the yoke of imperialism is false from beginning to end. Even their main stooge Karzai, is complaining about the hiccups in the delivery of the promised aid committed by the West for the "reconstruction" of Afghanistan.

On the other hand the most vicious of the warlords, Rashid Dostum, Qasim Fahim, Khalili, Ismail Khan, Saraf and many other were also sitting in the front row to get a sacred justification from this medieval institution for the continuation of their barbaric acts. The tragedy of Afghanistan is one where for centuries the crusades of imperialist invaders have left behind their scars on the face of this unfortunate land.

From Alexander's invasion to George Bush's aggression, all left behind the instruments they used to perpetuate their rule in Kabul. Today in the depth of its primitiveness Afghanistan holds some of the most sophisticated weapons and devices. Amongst the debris of pre-feudal relations that still prevail in this society one finds advanced vehicles, rockets, missiles, satellite mobile phones and other weapons of destruction. The warlords have them in their possession. This makes the coming scenario even more terrifying.

The western media in an effort to proclaim their advent into Afghanistan as a crusade for human rights and freedom of women, had a number of women sitting in the Jirga. The imperialists were portraying themselves and their stooges as liberators of women, to the masses of the West.

The shedding of Burqas (veils) by a few elitist women in no way represents emancipation of women. Opening up of "beauty parlours" in Kabul does not represent the freedom of women. In reality this beautification and make up of women makes them more of a commodity of pleasure for consumption by primitive Afghan male chauvinism rather than their independence.

Similarly the blasphemous gesture of Karzai's ex-women's affairs minister and present head of "human rights" department Seema Samar does not and cannot eradicate Islamic fundamentalism. It rather aggravates it.

After the retreat of the Taliban, the vast majority of women have not taken off their Burqa. They still wear the Burqa to protect themselves from the piercing stares of male eyes representing a chauvinist mind, the product of extreme primitiveness of culture, economy and society.

These Afghan women cannot attain the strength to defy these harassing stares on the basis of feminism or hating the men folk as whole. Instead this strength and will can only be achieved by a struggle along with men for a greater cause, the elimination of poverty, primitiveness, misery, disease and exploitation, the roots of this sexual perversion. Hence this propaganda of the imperialist press about the "freedom of Afghan women" is totally false and fabricated. Their emancipation is directly linked to the victory of the oppressed in the class war.

Loya Jirga was in reality a dictatorial exercise in the name of democracy. All speeches and proceedings were conducted on the bogus scripts and directions of US agents there.

On the other hand US imperialism spent a sum of $5 billion to buy the loyalties of the warlords and so-called delegates to hold the Jirga and install its puppet regime. This underhand trading of money was more than the total amount promised by the western countries ($4.5 billion) for the social and economic development of Afghanistan. And most of that is yet to come. The chances of its deliverance are getting remote with every passing day.

After 6 months of imperialist occupation and the disappearance of the Taliban into the wilderness of Afghanistan, 62% of the Afghan population is still languishing in conditions of semi starvation. The funds of most UN relief agencies are drying up. Most of the 1700 British troops are leaving. The Americans have only a very limited and strategic presence left. And that is mostly from the air. Osama has still not been captured. Mullah Omar is still at large in Afghanistan. And when his imperialist bosses leave what will become of Karzai? Who will save him? He fears not only from the Taliban redeploying in the rugged mountains but also from his own warlord cabinet ministers!

The conflict between warlords Atta Mohammad and Dostum in the north has again flared up. In the south and east Pushtun warlords are up against each other and the Tajiks. Armed ethnic conflicts are on the rise.

The so-called "democracy" fabricated through the obsolete instrument of the Loya Jirga doesn't stand much of a chance. A renewed turmoil and conflagration will inevitably erupt in Afghanistan.

The links with Pakistan historically, socially, culturally and economically have further strengthened throughout this whole episode. Their destinies are linked more closely now than ever before. Al Qaeda and Taliban have their links and supporters in Pakistan and if the reactionaries can build this support and relationship then why not the revolutionaries?

The activists of Khalq, PDPA (People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan) and other left parties, groups and individuals will find many comrades in Pakistan. But their unity and coordination can only be achieved on the basis of a Marxist analysis of the 1978 Afghan revolution, and internationalist revolutionary perspectives based on the class struggle.

Such a revolutionary rendezvous can open the path of a socialist revolution in this region. A socialist revolution in Afghanistan and Pakistan will not only spread into the rest of South Asia but will decisively defeat western imperialism and uproot the basis of Islamic fundamentalism and other dark forces of the past.

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