Revolutionary Worker #1205, June 29, 2003, posted at rwor.org
We received the following from the A World to Win News Service:
16 June 2003. A World to Win News Service. Hundreds of people demonstrated in Kabul against the U.S. occupation on May 24. The protesters, mainly youth along with many others, marched in front of U.S. embassy and threw stones, angrily chanting "Down with U.S., Down with Bush, down with Karzai" (the head of the U.S. puppet government in Afghanistan) and "Death to Foreigners" (referring to the International Security Force, the occupation forces that include German, Italian, French and other NATO soldiers).
This was a protest against the killing of at least four Afghanistan soldiers, and the wounding of another four by Americans guarding the U.S. embassy in Kabul. The demonstrators demanded that the killers be brought to justice. The Afghani soldiers had been unloading a car when they were shot down. The U.S. embassy says the guards thought the soldiers were aiming guns at them. However, according to local authorities, "There was no firing from the Afghani side, except for one of the wounded soldiers who fired back after the Americans fired at him." It is not clear whether the American soldiers acted out of unjustified fear or whether they shot without provocation in order to deter any future attackers. The Karzai government attempted to downplay the incident, but among the people this imperialist arrogance fuelled the boiling hostility against the occupation.
The angry youth protested against the U.S. and NATO forces and demanded that they be withdrawan from Afghanistan. They threw stones at U.S. Marines guarding the embassy from a watchtower. They also went after the ISAF. In Great Massoud road near the U.S. embassy, one of the ISAF vehicles escaped with broken windows while another collided with a taxi and was stoned before it could escape from the masses. Two soldiers were injured in the head and hand. The knowledge that their sentiments are shared by a great many Afghanis made the youth bolder. One bystander told BBC, "It's something very bad the Americans have done and I support this demonstration. If they have come here to give the people peace, then is that the meaning of peace--to take a gun and shoot people?"
Tens of thousands of Afghan people were killed in the first year of the war by the military machine of U.S. imperialism. Now the invaders are murdering and harassing innocent people every day. They treat every Afghani as a potential enemy--even, in this case, the soldiers of their own puppet regime.
Mass opposition in different forms is growing. More and more people are coming to the conclusion that the invaders are there to insure the interests of imperialism and suppress and exploit the people of Afghanistan. Even the relatively small numbers of people who at first had illusions that the U.S. might bring fresh air for people to breathe and help the country to reconstruct itself have seen this hope shattered.
Different kinds of demonstrations have been taking place since last October. On May 6, civil servants demonstrated in Kabul in front of the Information and Cultural Ministry. At first the mainly government workers demanding their wages that had not been paid for months numbered only 300, but their ranks quickly increased to several thousand. People circulated different kinds of leaflets denouncing the U.S. and the Karzai government, and some of the speakers denounced U.S. imperialism's real intentions in invading Afghanistan.
One student said, "We thought that the U.S. is an advanced country and will help us but now we can see that they have come to steal our natural wealth and keep us hungry." Someone else said that his father is a government worker. He hadn't been paid his 30 dollar monthly wage for three months, and along with his coworkers has decided to go on strike. Another person said that he was disappointed with the situation, that the government has not kept its promises, and that he doesn't see a good future for his country.
Corruption and bribery has become rampant under the U.S.-led occupation. First, many government offices and employees rely on bribes for a living. Second, there are over 150,000 soldiers in Afghanistan. The government pays a salary to the couple of thousand of them trained by the U.S. army, but doesn't pay a penny to the Jihadi forces, the men who took up arms previously. They make their living by plundering and robbing the masses. Thus the masses are forced to carry a double burden on their backs. Many of these official and unofficial forces located near the borders are working with smugglers of drugs, goods or human beings. Those government workers who cannot manage their expenses through bribery, like the transport or post office employees, are in real trouble because in many cases they haven't paid wages for up to five months.
Late last year Kabul University students demonstrated against the bad conditions in their dormitories. They are given bad food or no food at all. They had no heating or even blankets in the extremely cold weather of the capital. The authorities violently attacked the protesters, killing at least three. Many people believed that the death toll was higher than announced in the papers.
People crippled and mutilated in the many different wars of Afghanistan in the last 24 years protested because they have been ignored too.
Authorities in Pakistan and Iran are pressuring the many Afghanis who have been living in refugee camps there to leave--as if they lived in these miserable camps because they wanted to. But the situation at home is not any better, if not worse. About 30-40 returning refugee families who have no place to go occupied a grass field in Kabul known as Chaman and set up their tents. They had no other choice. Some of them lost their small children in the terrible winter cold. The government, which wanted to hold a Nowrooz celebration (the local New Year's day, March 21) prepared to evict them from there. The families protested and forced the government to back down. The bad conditions for those people have reduced the number of people returning from abroad, because people have no homes or work waiting for them. This, too, is fueling a climate of discontent as the people raise their voices.
The U.S. occupation of Afghanistan is a disaster for the people. The U.S. imperialists and their puppet government are unwilling and unable to improve the situation for the masses. More and more people are coming to the conclusion that the invaders are seeking their own interests and they have been trying to deceive the masses. The masses are learning more about the nature of imperialism. The demonstrations in Kabul and also in other towns, including the protests in Mazar Sharif a few months ago, have all been spontaneous. They have been motivated by hate for the invaders, and the poverty, misery and insecurity created by the occupiers and other reactionaries.
This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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