The War of US and NATO Imperialism in Afghanistan by Fazal Rahman, Ph.D.

Chicago Anti-War Protest

Image by Debra Sweet via Flickr

by Fazal Rahman, Ph.D.
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Originally published on imperialismandthethirdworld, Oct. 14, 2017
October 16, 2017, revised October 19, 2017

Sixteen years of war in Afghanistan by US and NATO imperialism is the longest in their history. In spite of their incomparable high tech military and economic superiority, and after gathering the military forces of 50 client countries there, committing diabolical atrocities, and spending close to a trillion dollars, they have essentially lost the war against the poorly equipped Taliban and their allies that have been waging an effective and experienced guerrilla warfare against the invaders and becoming stronger in the process, again demonstrating the accuracy of dialectical theories of guerrilla warfare by Mao Zedong, Vo Nguyen Giap, and Ernesto Che Guevara.

There has been no anti-war movement against this longest and devastating imperialist war, in the US or the West, even though there are, in spite of great ideological differences, certain important parallels and common patterns between this war and the US and NATO war in Vietnam and Indo-China of the last century, the most important being that both wars were against the US and Western imperialist invaders, and for self-determination and national liberation, as well as the inability of US and Western imperialism to defeat the anti-imperialist national liberation forces, in spite of the incomparable military and economic superiority of the former. One of the most important differences between the Vietnam and Indo-China war of the 20th Century and Afghan War of the 21st Century is that the resistance forces in Vietnam were getting powerful military, political, and economic support from the USSR, China, and other socialist countries, while the resistance forces in Afghanistan are not getting any such support from any country. To the contrary, under the current international political environment, much of the world has been collaborating with and supporting the imperialist invaders. The Left in the US and the West has been extremely biased against the resistance forces of Afghanistan, because of various cultural, political, and ideological perspectives, which it rigidly imposes on the situation in Afghanistan, without understanding the complexities of cultural and politico-economic differences between the Western and Afghan societies, or the great importance of Islam, around which, the forces of resistance have organized their successful struggle in Afghanistan. The major reason for such lack of understanding of such a complex situation and conflict is the lack of dialectical knowledge, thinking, or analysis, and prevalence of positivist and neo-positivist modes of thinking and analysis, which fail to comprehend the developmental dynamics of contradictions. Even most of the Marxists, who may pay lip service to dialectics, actually have very little knowledge of dialectical logic. As the whole Anglo-American political, philosophical, and literary culture is devoid of dialectical modes of thinking and analyses, even those who have knowledge of the dialectical logic, get drowned out in the former, and rarely apply it in practice, as very few can understand or relate to it.

Under capitalism, the mass culture and mass psychology are conditioned both under the influence of intellectual positivism, widespread in the academia, news and other media, and other institutions of society, as well as by the powers of money and capital, which create thoughts, feelings, and behavior that are similar to those produced by intellectual positivism. Of course, most people have no idea of what positivism or neo-positivism is. However, they become automatically conditioned by them through the social, material, and intellectual forces of capitalism and imperialism.

It is important to note the dialectical transformation of the role of Jihadis, many of whom later became Taliban, and Islam, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, from being in the service of US imperialism, during 1980s and 1990s, waging a proxy war against the socialism-oriented government and its Soviet allies in Afghanistan, to their opposites, that is, in the service of national liberation and self-determination, waging a war against US and NATO imperialism and its invading forces. This revolutionary transformation has occurred in relatively very short period of time, as a result of the resolution of various contradictions that were inherent in the earlier phase of collaboration with the US and Western imperialism. In the current phase, new contradictions are being created, which, along with those that will be created in the future, will also lead to new syntheses and resolutions. That is how social and politico-economic reality and history evolve and progress, through the development and resolution of inherent contradictions of various phenomena.

All this demonstrates that Islam can be made to play contradictory roles. It can be used in the service of feudalism, capitalism, and imperialism, as well as against them, in the service of anti-imperialism, national liberation, and possibly even anti-capitalism and anti-feudalism, under the right circumstances.

The history of Christianity also reveals similar contradictory roles. In much of its history, its mainstreams have played a sinister role in the service of feudalism, capitalism, imperialism, evil, injustice, slavery, colonialism, and neo-colonialism. In the 16th Century, Protestantism emerged, under the leadership of Martin Luther, which represented the religious ideology and interests of the rising capitalism and capitalist class in many parts of Europe, and which played an important role in the replacement of feudalism with capitalism, as well as in the reduction of the immense powers of Catholicism, which had played a crucial role in the creation and continuation of feudalism. Thomas Munzer, a contemporary of Martin Luther, was another leader of Protestantism and Reformation, who advocated a radical socio-economic revolution of the peasants and the urban poor and was one of the leaders of the 1525 Great Peasant War in Germany. His political program was close to equalitarian communism. Catholicism, the dominant form of Christianity in most of its history, has always served the interests of the dominant ruling classes and class-divided politico-economic systems. After the triumph of capitalism in the West and the East, all the mainstream branches of Christianity have been in the service of capitalism, imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, injustice, evil, genocides, plunder and robbery of the resources of rest of the world, as well as of each other. Judaism has evolved in similar directions, especially in the form of Zionism. Hinduism in India and even Buddhism, for example in Myanmar, where Buddhist monks have been leading their following hordes in the slaughter, persecution, dispossession, expulsion, and destruction of the lives and livelihoods of Rohingya Muslims, are also racing on similar paths.

During its ascendancy, Islam also had similar history of conquests, colonialism, and subjugation of various peoples and their countries, as well as domination, exploitation, and plunder of their resources. However, in many conquered territories, like in Spain, Muslims were much more tolerant of the practitioners of other religions than the Christians were in their conquests, and lived in relative harmony with them. Under the Muslim rule, Spain had become the most advanced and developed country in the world, far ahead of any other European countries. After the reconquest of Spain by the Christians, all the Muslims and Jews were either expelled or converted to Christianity and the extremely barbaric and notorious campaigns of Inquisition were instituted, with the approval and blessings of the Pope and Catholic Church.

“Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub (c. 1138-1193), popularly known in the West as Saladin, is a rare figure in Middle Eastern history that earned the respect of Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike. He is primarily known for defeating the Crusaders at the Battle of Hattin and recapturing Jerusalem in 1187. Like anybody, he had flaws, but history upholds him as a paragon of chivalry, compassion, and generosity. As the French Historian Rene Grousset said, “[Saladin’s] generosity, his piety, devoid of fanaticism… won him no less popularity in Frankish Syria than in the lands of Islam.” Saladin was a Muslim Sultan, but he is also a universal figure.

During the European conquest of Jerusalem in 1099, the Crusaders slaughtered Muslims and Jews alike, including women and children. Eighty-eight years later, Saladin recaptured Jerusalem. The city’s Christians feared for their lives because they were certain that the Muslims would avenge the deaths of their people, and Saladin was in a position to do so.

Yet, Saladin did not shed the blood of Christians in Jerusalem. He freed the old, the widows, and the children to ensure that they were not condemned to a life of slavery. For forty days, he granted all Christians from foreign lands safe departure and allowed them to return to their respective countries with their property. He found the male guardians for Christian women to ensure that they were provided protection and shelter on their return journeys. He allowed the Eastern Christians to stay and reinstated the right of every Jew to visit and resettle in Jerusalem. He conquered Jerusalem on a Saturday and ordered that the Church be open on Sunday for services.”

Above three passages are from: Nisar, Hasher. What can we learn from Saladin. Huffington Post. December 9, 2016. The information contained in this article is supported by many prestigious historical sources of such information.

On the other hand, at other times and in some other parts of the world, like in Africa, Muslim Arabs as well as Jews, like the White Christians, engaged in the demonic business of buying and selling Black Africans as slaves. White Christians of Great Britain subjugated and enslaved the White Christians of Ireland for centuries. Muslim Tatars of Crimea were raiding Russia and Ukraine for centuries for capturing and selling of White slaves.

It is important to note that in the 20th and 21st Centuries, Jews have slaughtered incomparably more Muslim Arabs than the killings of all the crusades by all sides, as well as expelled millions of them from their lands and homes. In less than two decades of the 21st Century alone, American and NATO militaries, predominantly Christians from nations that are overwhelmingly Christian, have slaughtered around 3 million Muslims in the imperialist wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria, and Pakistan, made countless millions refugees, destroyed the infrastructures, economies, means of living, and socio-political structures of the first four countries above, as well as those of the Tribal Areas of Pakistan, causing the impoverishment and destitution of other countless millions. During the two world wars of the 20th Century, caused mostly by the inter-capitalist and inter-imperialist rivalry of the European Christian nations for the monopoly over resources and their re-division in the world, more people were killed and wounded than in all the previous wars of human history. In Vietnam and Indochina, more than 3 million inhabitants were killed, countless millions wounded, whole villages blown up, and large areas of forests destroyed by bombings and Agent Orange, which is still there in the soil, causing cancers, birth defects, and other illnesses. The use of depleted uranium in the war in Iraq is causing similar problems there.

Much of human history on this planet makes one wish that one was not born here as a member of this species.

As indicated above, Islam is playing contradictory roles in the Muslim World. Currently, the ruling classes and governments of most Muslim countries are in the service of feudalism, capitalism, and imperialism. Only a few, like Iran and Syria are opposing some aspects and operations of American and NATO imperialism, in the interests of their sovereignty and independence. However, much of the Muslim World is in turmoil and numerous non-state organizations have emerged, which are waging militant struggles against their own governments and ruling classes, as well as against Western imperialism. The situation in the Muslim World is extremely contradictory, complex, and fluid. That is all I can say about this matter, full analysis and explication of which will require the writing of a book, in this brief note.

The following articles are some of the rare exceptions in the political writings on the war in Afghanistan, in which, some dialectical logic and thinking have been applied, and the nature of primary and secondary contradictions, as well as their relative importance have been described and identified.

1. Ghosts from Vietnam

Irfan Husain, October 14, 2017

Finally, following the 1973 Paris peace talks, the Americans withdrew from Vietnam, leaving behind the abiding image of a helicopter taking off from the US embassy in Saigon, with people clinging to its landing gear. Thus ended a needless war that consumed hundreds of thousands of lives.

Sadly, no lessons appear to have been learned. The Americans are still bogged down in Afghanistan after 16 years of war. And the generals are still calling for more troops and promising victory. But additional forces have done nothing to cow the Afghan Taliban into submission. As in South Vietnam, the US enjoys control of the air, and has artillery and armour. And yet an outgunned, dirt-poor foe has fought the mighty war machine to a halt.

2. In Defence of The Taliban, Against NATO Imperialism

Harry Powell, January 6, 2010

In Afghanistan the war of national resistance to imperialist invasion and occupation, led by the Taliban, is intensifying. The NATO led forces are having to send in around 40,000 extra troops to try to beat back the popular insurgency led by the Taliban. Yet despite widespread opposition among progressive people in the imperialist countries to the imperialist assault upon Afghanistan there is a definite coolness, if not hostility, to the Taliban who are leading the armed struggle against the imperialist forces.

3. US and NATO imperialism in South Asia: the developing Pakistan quagmire

Fazal Rahman, Ph.D., June 15, 2009

Posted on on December 3, 2011

Note: This article was written on June 15, 2009, and was published on Dandelion Salad on November 18, 2010, from where many other sites also, including some in Pakistan, copied and posted it.


In this article, the real nature of the main issue and main forces in the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan is identified and explained. The main issue is, of course, the invasion of Pakhtoon areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan by the US and NATO imperialists and their client and puppet forces, while the main forces are imperialists and their local clients, Pakistan and Afghanistan governments and their military and police forces, on the one hand, and the anti-imperialist forces-Afghan and Pakistan Taliban and their allies-on the other. Even though, it is a very simple truth, it must be emphasized and stated clearly, as it is drowned under oceans of lies and propaganda, manufactured by the powerful organs of disinformation of the West as well as those of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

4. Exceptional Pashtuns? Class Politics, Imperialism and Historiography

Dr. Nancy Lindisfarne, 2012

British anthropologist, Nancy Lindisfarne, is one of the very few western researchers who has integrated the roles of class struggle and imperialism in her anthropological studies of the successes and popularity of Taliban in Afghanistan and Swat and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in Pakistan. She considers them to be the most important factors and causes of the growing strength and popularity of Taliban. Questions of class and imperialism have been systematically excluded by overwhelming majority of western anthropologists and other social scientists in their studies of these areas and conflicts, as well as other areas of the world. That capitalist-imperialist omission renders their research and studies fundamentally flawed and deficient. The following link is to one of her articles in which she discussed the class struggle, imperialism, Taliban, and other related matters in Afghanistan and Pakistan.


Dr. Fazal Rahman is an interdisciplinary researcher and writer, with background in many areas of biological and social sciences. He has lived and worked in many countries, like Pakistan, Brazil, USA, Lebanon, and Zambia, as a scientist and head of research and development programs and centers. He has done in-depth and extensive studies on Marxism, Leninism, phenomenology, existentialism, political economy of capitalism and socialism, political economy of US and former USSR, technocracy, psychology, mass psychology, and genetics, etc.

from the archives:

Dr. Najib — A Sketch of A Man and A Country by Gaither Stewart

David Swanson: Senate Refuses to Stop Endless War

Matthew Hoh: Trump’s New Afghanistan Strategy: Windfall for the Military-Industrial Complex?

The 16 Year War in Afghanistan – Headlines Tell the Story by Ralph Nader

Chris Hedges and Matthew Hoh: Afghanistan War Keeps Going Because the Money Keeps Flowing In

The Losing Warfare State by Ralph Nader

US and NATO imperialism in South Asia: The developing Pakistan quagmire by Fazal Rahman, Ph.D

12 thoughts on “The War of US and NATO Imperialism in Afghanistan by Fazal Rahman, Ph.D.

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  10. Thank you Fazal for your characteristically forthright and insightful work.

    The ‘Western’ experience of Afghanistan is akin to a conditioned idealist arguing with a rock, instead of trying to understand what rocks are and why they exist. The ‘bottom line’ is invariably money and exploitative opportunism at the highest level; how to profit from ignominious and arrogant misadventures sold to the public as noble endeavors. Despite the demise of the notion of ‘race,’ this self-endowed principle of arrogant superiority persists, buttressed by prejudicial (conditioned) so-called ‘religious’ reflexes that justify the illusion of pious altruism.

    Despite it’s historic difficulties, the cumulative integrity of Islam, moreover, has been profoundly undermined by the sinister machinations of Zionist ambitions in the Middle-east with the monstrous changes we have witnessed wrought throughout the C20th, but peddled to us as heroic triumphs by gaseous vertebrates.

    I have witnessed this astonishing process of deliberate falsification of values in my lifetime. This prejudice has been methodically cultivated, to the extent that ‘martyrdom’ is now a horrific curse that has been packaged as a desirable option for impetuous, desperate and passionately misguided youth.

    There are crimes of malicious intent and there is the deliberate & dogmatic imposition of criminally orchestrated ignorance ~ wherein class/caste and faith have been deployed, or super-imposed, as a cramping eugenicist cage on culturally-conditioned patriarchal systems.

    As I see it, class (slavery) will exist so long as tyrannical false, tribal mores survive; but in decadent capital-rich environments, because privileged misogynist education can be bought and ‘natural’ selection co-opted to mean socially engineered, moral, psychological, existential and intellectual restriction.

    The natural mind is thus corrupted and diminished, so that indigenous wisdom is ‘officially’ treated with contempt; while the shining illusion of synthetic development is vaunted as the salvation of humanity by the PR wizards of gluttony. This disproportionate emphasis on secular materialism renders potentially valuable technologies bereft of any potentially sacred contextual function.

    International (and parochial) crime is thus both a product of elitism and an insecure reaction to it. There should be no market in human qualities; but the concept of a qualitative market, that is regulated for necessities first, and for luxuries if and when those fundamental needs are met, is desirable in my opinion.

    This means modelling our social organization(s) along ecological principles of creative diversity, derived from intelligent interpretation and inference about how such systems actually thrive ~ biologically and autonomously, within the broader cosmic reality….however we may approach that.

    Is that proposal feasible? I think it is, if we model our judicious and judicial processes, on the elegant scientific principles of evidence-based heuristic example, through empirical self-correction and intelligent, mutually consensual, adjustment ~ that is to say, by open discourse, diligent research, free dialogue and the wise exchange of shared understanding.

    • Thank you David for your comment, in which you have tried to place the contents and issues of my article in broader and complex context, with typical unique and impressive Davidian vocabulary.

      I also thank Lo for having copied the article from my site and posted it here. After she posted it here, on my site, I added a few historical examples of contrast between the actions of Muslims and Christian, after their conquests.

      I write articles with rather long intervals. Lately, the frequency of my writings has decreased even further. I feel that in the US, too much is being written and said, and very little is being done practically to stop and reverse the powerful emanation of wars; slaughters; injustice; inequality; militarism; arms race; demonic arrogance; and perversion, distortion, and destruction of Human Soul and Human Reason; from it, and being radiated to everywhere on the planet, and beyond. All this is, undoubtedly, the result of co-evolution and mutual reinforcement and empowerment of capitalism and science and technology, which have created great new problems that even the founders of Marxism-Leninism did not anticipate. Everything is getting so much worse and we will be leaving a world, our common world, which the capitalists and imperialists are claiming to be their private property, more dangerous, more unjust, more unequal, and more physically and spiritually polluted, for the future generations, than the one we were born into. Objectively, there is very little reason for optimism at this stage of the striptease of history. However, it is necessary to keep a window of optimism open in one’s subjectivity, as it is not impossible for the somnambulistic masses to start stampeding in the right directions.

      • Thanks for writing this piece, Fazal. I’ve updated the post with your additional paragraphs.

        I’d use the word “hope” instead of optimism. The youth of today are creative, intelligent and are more inclined towards Socialism, at least the ones I’ve had conversations with. And they and others still need to be educated and informed on what is going on in the world, so these articles are very important.

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