Afghanistan: Protest against US occupiers in Jalalabad
15 January 2007. A World to Win News Service.
As the year 2006 was drawing to a close, a large number of angry people poured into the streets of Jalalabad, the capital of the province of Nangarhar in eastern Afghanistan. In the early morning hours of 31 December, US-led soldiers had raided a home in a village south of the city, killing two people and detaining three more. The demonstrators said that that those killed were ordinary civilians. They were protesting the brutality of US-led forces and demanding the end of these atrocities
While the American military authorities refused to confirm the killings and arrests, Nangarhar province governor Gul Agha Shirazi confirmed the incident. He also told reporters, “The raid took place without consulting with us.”
This is not the first time that Jalalabad has been the scene of angry mass protests. The brutality of US-led forces has been the highest in the area. The Taleban has been active and particularly strong in that area too. The US has been unable to defeat the Taleban, and has suffered losses at the hands of these reactionaries. In retaliation, the US-led troops have targeted ordinary civilians, wreaking vengeance on them for American losses and inability to succeed in their aims.
The occupation force of some 40,000 foreign soldiers and the troops of their puppet regime have been continuously raiding the people’s home in the villages, especially in the south and east of Afghanistan. This has taken place in various kinds of circumstances, including searching for Taleban soldiers. Likewise, American aircraft have often bombed ordinary people in different areas since the occupation began, killing and injuring many children and elderly people as well as others.
The criminal actions and brutality of the US-led occupation forces and the soldiers of the puppet regime have turned the Jalalabad to one of the most tense areas of Afghanistan and the scene of many anti-US, anti-regime and anti-war lord demonstrations. Students in Jalalabad were very active in the series of violent anti-US demonstrations that shook Afghanistan in May 2005, during which 17 students were killed. Also in Nangarhar province, when the occupation forces arrested a whole family, including two women, about a year ago, thousands of people poured into the streets and blocked the railway until those arrested were all freed.
Despite the initial promises for a better life for Afghanistan’s people, now after five years of occupation by the US and other Western imperialists and the establishment of a puppet regime, the results are plain for all to see: The occupiers bring humiliation, insults, jailing and sometimes death to masses of ordinary people. The economic situation, if not worse, is at least as bad as before – the impoverishment of the nation and unemployment persists. The so-called reconstruction is mostly a myth. Women, who were supposed to be “liberated” by the occupiers, have had to bear the main burden of the bad economic situation, insecurity and continuing religious rule. The UN organization UNICEF recently reported that widows, who are under severe economic and social pressures, are increasingly resorting to suicide as the only way out of their difficulties. Gang rape of women and especially teenage girls has turned into a serious problem for the people. This situation has made returning to Afghanistan an unattractive option for the four million refugees still living in Iran and Pakistan. Just over 1,000 of the 900,000 Afghan refugees in Iran have returned this year, and only 25,000 have come home from Pakistan, many of them forced out when the Pakistani government closed some of the refugee camps on its border with Afghanistan.
In spite of the puppet government’s initial big boasts about reducing poppy growing, this past year registered record opium production, with a large increase as compared to 2005.
As a result of all these political, economic and social issues, many in Afghanistan have raised their voices and protested against the atrocities of the puppet regime, the warlords and the occupiers who have continued the oppression the people suffered previous to the 2001 invasion.
In late May of last year, Kabul saw a violent youth riot directed against the US army after an American military truck ploughed into traffic at a crossroads and then the soldiers began shooting at the people. Chants of “Death to America” filled the air of the capital as the rioters stoned the U.S. convoy involved in the accident, then headed to the centre of town, targeting imperialist facilities and governmental establishments, including the headquarters of international aid organizations and police stations, to display their rising resentment of the occupiers. At least 22 people were killed by security forces in this violent protest.
Not long after, in early July 2006, residents of Chonghar village in Paghman district near Kabul protested the grabbing of five thousand acres of land by commanders of the powerful warlord Abdul Rasul Sayyaf. Land grabs by gangs within the puppet government are a new phenomenon in occupied Afghanistan.
In last week’s editorial “On the lynching of Saddam Hussein”, the last few words should have been “occupation by US imperialism”, instead of “the direct rule of US imperialism”.