America’s Final Act of Revenge Against Afghans

The current plan of action chosen by the US is to carry out collective punishment against the battered population of Afghanistan. The US intends to impose maximum misery upon the whole population through punitive sanctions.

  • American's Final Act of Revenge Against Afghans

Once in class, I said that western Empires have collectively been the source of the world's greatest suffering. A skeptical student almost immediately asked, "Worse than North Korea?" Instead of sweeping explanations about colonialism's destruction of Africa, the genocides in the America's, the Opium Wars, the brutal colonization of Australia, the famines of India, the two World Wars, Vietnam, or today's destruction of swathes of West Asia, I thought of something much more local and specific. 

In Shakespeare's 'King Lear', Edgar was standing with Gloucester at the top of a cliff looking down at fishermen who "appear like mice" and a ship "almost too small for sight." They are almost forgotten when one looks out at the vast ocean, but each boat has its own fishermen with anxious loved ones as well as vulnerable dependents. North Koreans are no exception.

On January 17, 2018, the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson proudly spoke of the success of US sanctions against North Korea. He explained that because of food shortages, North Korean fishing boats were "being sent out to fish with inadequate fuel to get back" and that one hundred of their fishing boats had drifted into Japanese waters and two-thirds of all the fishermen had died. As there was no outrage or pillaging of the US State Department, I assume that in the eyes of many Americans and most elites, the atrocity must have been "worth it" -- to use the words of another former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright when responding to a question about five hundred thousand Iraqi children dying because of US sanctions

The dying days of the US occupation of Afghanistan and the scenes at Kabul Airport were no different from past atrocities, only more visible. The sight of terrified young Afghan men falling from a US military aircraft confirmed the sense of betrayal for those faithful to the occupation. Soon afterward, US soldiers who had just finished using Afghan babies for photo-ops carried out another outrage. After an ISIS suicide bomber blew himself up at the airport due to US military incompetence, hysterical US troops fired into the crowd and massacred over one hundred desperate Afghans waiting to board US planes. Then there was the US drone strike supposedly against an ISIS target in Kabul, which massacred a large family, including 7 kids. There was no sign of ISIS casualties at the scene of the crime. Like countless other atrocities carried out across Afghanistan over the past two decades, these were downplayed or simply ignored by western governments, media, and "human rights" organizations.

Sadly, the US has no plans to pity Afghans and end its Machiavellian intervention. The US and NATO were forced to withdraw, but they have no intention to change course. In fact, the current plan of action chosen by the US is to carry out collective punishment against the battered population of Afghanistan. Similar to Yemen, Syria, Cuba, Iran, Venezuela, Lebanon, Gaza, and Iraq, the US intends to impose maximum misery upon the whole population through punitive sanctions. However, in the case of Afghanistan, the population is particularly vulnerable and US sanctions will be a death sentence for many and will contribute to an enormous wave of refugees fleeing the country.

In Afghanistan, intellectuals are already fleeing, while capital flight has reached dramatic proportions. Very little of the 2.5 Trillion dollars spent during the US occupation was ever spent on real infrastructure and economic development, but the crumbs that contributed to the local economy are now gone. Under such desperate circumstances, the US has frozen the assets of Afghanistan's Central Bank and international finance will no longer provide support as Afghanistan's long and cold winter approaches.

While the Taliban does not have the trust of most Afghans and is not in a position yet to competently govern the country, the US' regional allies are already funding extremist factions in the Taliban that are opposed to an inclusive government that can lead to stability. This simply cannot happen without at least partial consent from Washington. The objective is clear -- the US plans to severely punish Afghans and Afghanistan, but this punishment will have devastating consequences that cannot be contained within the country's borders. 

Many will die, and millions will flee unless immediate action is taken. European countries, in particular, should recognize that a heavily sanctioned Iran is in no position to hold back an ocean of refugees. As things stand, Americans will have their revenge, but Europe will pay a heavy price as refugees flow their way.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.
Seyed Mohammad Marandi

Professor of English Literature and Orientalism; Head of the American Studies department at the University of Tehran