Holding Presidential elections in Afghanistan, a country occupied by nearly 90,000 foreign soldiers, is as absurd as it would have been to hold elections after World War 2 in Soviet-Occupied Poland. The proposed candidates, including Hamid Karzai, are no more than glorified caretakers to protect western interests at the expense of the Afghan people. President Obama’s Afghan strategy, announced after he took office, involves nothing more than increasing foreign troops, increasing the number of western experts and doubling down on long term occupation. After 8 years of occupation, Afghanistan still remains the fourth poorest country in the world, with 70% of Afghans not knowing where their next meal is coming from; it remains fragmented, warlords remain in key positions; poverty remains high; corruption is endemic amongst the ruling elite; poppy production is at record levels; and reconstruction efforts, excluding the building of embassies for foreign diplomats, is a joke.
Why do the West, the US and the UK in particular, insist on continuing this bloody war in Afghanistan? Its population constitutes a trivial proportion of even the South Asian regional economy. Its lands do not bear any of the world’s key commodities. It has no key waterways or ports. However, what Afghanistan does have is geography. This is its strategic value, close to the key areas of South, West and Central Asia – effectively, at the heart of the Islamic world. It is Afghanistan’s neighbourhood that is the strategic attraction to the US and the UK, which on the one hand contains significant energy reserves and on the other contains populations that are supportive of a future Islamic Khilafah State.
The key reason why western governments are so keen to play up these sham elections is their desperate need to convince their sceptical audiences at home that some progress is being made in Afghanistan. As military losses grow day by day and support for the on-going occupation in opinion polls drops, western politicians are desperate to show some crumbs of success. So they sacrifice soldiers, most of who have not even reached the age of twenty, to continue the deception that Afghanistan is somehow an existential threat to western security that is no truer than were the lies of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq.
On the eve of these farcical elections, Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain would like to make the following points:
1. There should therefore be a complete withdrawal of all foreign forces in Afghanistan and the wider region. Contrary to popular perception, NATO constitutes the largest contingent of foreign fighters in Afghanistan with its official force of 90,000 as well as thousands of unaccountable private contractors, special operations personnel and civilian staff.
2. Any kind of ethnic division of Afghanistan along the lines of some kind of Iraqi partition should be rejected. The 2009 Presidential campaign has once again shown democracy’s ugly bias towards nationalistic and ethnic politics, something Islam’s ruling system completely abhors. Any kind of Pashtun, Tajik, Uzbek, Hazara or other split would be a travesty for the people of Afghanistan and the wider region. It would also make clear, as many have suspected, that western occupation in the Muslim world has always been a precursor to a divide and rule strategy.
3. It is clear that for there to be real economic empowerment for the citizens of Afghanistan. The cartel of warlords, drug dealers sponsored by politicians and western multinationals must be broken up. The investment in Afghanistan has largely gone into the pockets of the Afghan elite, western consultants and NGO’s as well as warlords and narco-barons instead of being spent on alleviating poverty, building schools and developing core infrastructure.
4. NATO’s involvement in Afghanistan cannot be separated from its wider destabilizing strategy in the region. In this they are supported by countries like India, which seeks to use Afghanistan as a proxy in its continued strategy to weaken Pakistan. The occupation of Afghanistan is now developing into a more sinister war in Pakistan through repeated drone strikes, missile attacks and covert operations. This therefore clearly illustrates that America’s agenda post Iraq is to continue its strategy to weaken important countries in the Muslim world.
5. Lastly, it is abundantly clear that Muslims all across the region would like to see a unified Islamic Khilafah State and an end to foreign occupation. In a poll by the University of Maryland 65% of Muslims questioned in four Muslim countries (Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia and Morocco) supported such an entity. In a recent Gallup Poll 59% of Pakistanis agreed that the US was the greatest threat to Pakistan, greater than India and the Taliban. In a recent Pew global attitudes survey 72% of Pakistanis want the U.S. and NATO to remove their military troops from Afghanistan as soon as possible.
To solve not just the instability of Afghanistan but of the rest of the Muslim world therefore requires a new thinking, a new politics. Violence targeting other Muslims should be rejected, as this is what the enemies of Islam want, to pit Muslim against Muslim, to pit brother against brother, to pit Pashtun against Tajik. This was the American plan of divide and rule in Iraq and this is what America seeks to do in Afghanistan and Pakistan by supporting faction against faction, to ensure any kind of resistance to the United States is crushed. Therefore only a coherent effort at re-establishing the Islamic Khilafah State can address this problem. Only with a comprehensive elimination of the current foreign constitution, judiciary and systems, and their replacement with the constitution, judiciary and systems consistent with the beliefs of the people can the direction of countries like Afghanistan be comprehensively changed for the better.
After the failed experiments of warlords, dictatorship and foreign occupation, it is only the Khilafah that can bring stability, accountability and real elections, develop strong economic foundations and really ensure political decisions on the future of countries like Afghanistan are made at home and not in Washington and London. It is only a legitimate Khilafah State that will have the authority and leadership to close down the poppy fields, reduce corruption and arrest the warlords.
Unfortunately for the Afghan people, they have been invaded twice by major external powers in the last 30 years and this remains the hub of their problem. Unless the Afghan people can rest their sovereignty from the occupying force, they will not be able to overcome their current tribulations. Sham elections of the type held in August 2009 cannot cover up this fundamental reality.
Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain
28th Shaban 1430
19th August 2009