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Afghanistan The New Interim Government’s Political and Military Restructuring

This is an excerpt from an article prepared for Shola, a publication of the Communist Party of Afghanistan. A rough English translation of the entire article will be made available soon on this site.

The puppet government, not only in terms of its conception, formation and take-over of power, but also in terms of the continuation of its work, is heavily dependent on the military support of the imperialist powers. The two main tasks assigned to the “interim government” – as well as to the transitional government – are “establishing law and order” and “political and economic restructuring”, which are related and mutually interconnected. This is ridiculous!  This government does not have its own security force or armed military force….

The reality is that, at present, the main forces providing security for the puppet government and the main military forces in Afghanistan are the imperialist war forces, and, in comparison, the role of the United Nations forces is secondary and subordinate and fundamentally reliant on and conditioned by the former. Moreover, the UN forces are under the command of the US-led military forces in Afghanistan and, as such, are really part of that. In addition, as far as the question of “securing law and order” for “restructuring” is concerned, the military forces of Russia cannot be ignored either.

Thus the tasks of the armed forces and police in Afghanistan are mainly to be carried out by the imperialist forces. They will also restructure the reactionary army and police so that the puppet government can carry out its military and security tasks as a semi-colonial government. As the armed forces (police and army) in any state play the central role and this puppet government lacks the capacity to play this role, it cannot even be considered a semi-colonial government, but only a puppet, lackey government….

The US-led military forces continue to consolidate and expand their bases in and around Afghanistan. These forces have now established their bases in most cities and in important strategic points in the country and are expanding and strengthening them. In addition, they send their soldiers and reconnaissance groups and air patrols anywhere at anytime. Demands to stop the bombardments and military operations that take such a heavy toll on the population and even on those related to the interim government have now become relatively wide-spread….

In addition to military and police restructuring, the interim government is concerned about administrative restructuring… which in Kabul is also being carried out directly under the supervision of the international security forces. Two months after taking power, the interim government has not even been able to solve the problem of appointing walies(administrative chiefs) in different welayats(administrative districts) of the country. The reason is obvious. The interim government does not have effective power to appoint walies. In welayatslike Pakiya, armed struggle broke out against the walieappointed by the interim government. He was kicked out of the welayatand the central government was forced to come to an agreement with local officials on a third person. In places like Paktia, Khost, Logar Loghman, etc., the walies appointed by the interim government also faced widespread disapproval by local officials.

The Loya Jirga
Another important aspect of the central political restructuring is the plan to hold an emergency loya jirga, which is to form the transitional government when the interim government’s term ends. The Bonn Agreement says that the UN will help in the formation and activity of the commission to form the emergency loya jirga. But in practice the representative of the UN has personally appointed all 22 members of this commission, including its chair. Considering the present situation, the “election” or appointment of the members of the emergency loya jirga is sure to be marked by so much chaos, disputes and in-fighting that here too the final decision in most cases will be that of the UN representative. In any event, the main criteria for the election or appointment of the members of the emergency loya jirga is that they agree with the imperialist-sponsored protectorate and guardianship of the fate of this country and that they do not disagree with the direct rule of imperialist forces, including in the form of the so-called UN forces. Naturally these people will be the representatives of reactionary authorities and lackeys of imperialism in local and regional government in different parts of the country, so that their gathering will reflect in full the true historical and social meaning of the loya jirga in the present situation.

The first loya jirga in the history of Afghanistan was formed in 1707 by Mirvis Khan Houtak in order to confront the domination of the Safavi rule of Iran. Ahmed Shah Ebdali called the second in 1747, considered to be the beginning of the Darani monarchy in Afghanistan. Other loya jirgas were formed up until the rule of Amanullah Khan, all of which, like the first one, had a completely feudal-tribal and court composition, including the clergy. During Amanullah Khan’s rule, for the first time some intellectuals entered the loya jirga but their views and suggestions were not taken into consideration, as Shah Amanullah generally deferred to the opinion of feudal lords and dark-minded clerics.

The last loya jirga was during the Najibullah government, which passed the constitution he proposed and elected him President of Afghanistan.

A loya jirga, in fact, is a feudal-tribal gathering, basically of the Pashtun tribal system, and its participants are the tribal chiefs. In the present situation, where the traditional tribal authorities have suffered extensive blows throughout the country and their place has been taken by reactionary warlords dependent on imperialism, the loya jirga has taken another meaning and form. Never in the history of Afghanistan has a loya jirga been created in order to approve the occupation of the country by foreign powers. Even the one held under Najibullah was formed after the withdrawal of the Soviet forces. The emergency loya jirga of Zaher Khan put forward by the Bonn meeting will be the only one in the history of Afghanistan that results in approving the occupation of the country by imperialist forces. The main loya jirga that will follow will be another gathering of national traitors and lackeys of the imperialist occupiers and will approve them, just as has the Bonn meeting and the emergency loya jirga.
Even using bourgeois criteria the loya jirga cannot be considered a democratic institution. The criteria for participation is appointment by powerful reactionaries from family and tribe to national level, and the masses of people cannot participate in it, even with the bourgeois refinement of one person one vote. It is such an old and decayed body that the reactionary clergyman, Sheikh Asef Khandehari, once said that, “it is shameful to adhere to the loya jirga in the twenty-first century”.

Acceptance of the loya jirga as a mechanism to decide the transitional government, pass the constitution and decide the political system for the future of Afghanistan shows what potion is being cooked up by the imperialists and their lackeys and mercenaries for the country and its people.

It is being widely said that women will participate in the emergency loya jirga. The fact is that it is fundamentally a male gathering, although certain women participated in the one called by Najibullah and in the following ones that approved Najibullah’s “national conciliation line”. In the emergency loya jirga also, the women who participate will be those that consider the invading imperialists to be the saviours of Afghanistan’s women. It is clear that these women will neither represent the labouring and oppressed women nor defend their demands and interests. But they will help apply make-up to the ugly, bloody faces of the imperialist occupiers.