How the US destroyed the hopes of the Afghans

How the US destroyed the hopes of the Afghans

Looking at the modern history of the country on the Hindukush

by Matin Baraki

cc. A few weeks ago, an attack with more than 90 dead in the Afghan capital of Kabul has once again terrified the global public. Afghanistan does not come to rest. The war in this country continues every day – for almost forty years. The following text by the political scientist Matin Baraki, who teaches at the University of Marburg, gives an insight into the historical and political contexts. Baraki, who himself came from Afghanistan and left the country in 1974, has documented the attempts to build a democracy in the country, the failure of these attempts since the beginning of the 1960s, as well as the responsibility of foreign powers, especially the United States and its allies for this failure.

On 9 March 1963, King Mohammad Saher announced the resignation of his Prime Minister Mohammad Daud. In this way, the Kingdom of Afghanistan was to be spared a revolution on its streets. It was an attempt to implement and control the transformation of an absolute into a constitutional monarchy from above. The Afghan monarchy was determined “to give the people full freedom to choose the form of government and administration they want.” The population could be sure “that we will go all out in the field of democratic principles and social reforms. We want our people to determine its fate. We want the political parties to be able to bond with this”.1 This was emphasised the official side.

Attempt at a constitutional monarchy (1964–1973)

On 11 March 1963, Dr Mohammad Jossof, who had been the minister for mining and industry up to then, was appointed to be the new Prime Minister. With Jossof, those forces outside the dynasty that had the confidence of both the king and the ruling class took over the government affairs for the first time.
Already in his first declaration of government on 28 March 1963, Jossof announced political reforms, the core of which was to be the development of a new constitution and an electoral law. In September 1964, a Loyah Djergah (Grand Council) adopted the draft constitution, and on 1 October 1964 the new constitution was ratified by the King.
Article 1 of the Constitution declares: “Afghanistan is a constitutional monarchy and an independent and indivisible unitary state.” Based on this constitution, all political directions went public with their programmes. On 1 January 1965, the Marxist-oriented forces illegally founded the Democratic People’s Party of Afghanistan (DVPA). One year later, a party law was passed. On 30 April 1963, Prime Minister Jossof had said that a two-party system would be the only viable solution for Afghanistan. This was to be in the interest of a stable executive and to block the way for party formation for the smaller groups. A king’s party was to be formed as a government party from the supporters of the king and the forces close to him; a second party was to function as an “opposition party,” with a commitment to loyalty to the king.
For the first time, parliamentary elections were held (from 10 to 25 September 1965) with the participation of broad masses of the people. On 25 October 1965, during the parliament debate on the question of confidence in the newly formed Cabinet, again under the leadership of Dr Mohammad Jossof, pupils and students demonstrated in public. Their protest was directed against the composition of the Cabinet Jossof, with persons people well knew to be extremely currupt, like Said Qasem Reschtia as finance minister. The police and the military went against the demonstrators by force of arms. According to official data, three people were killed, a few dozen injured. Independent observers reported more than 20 to 30 killed pupils and students.
To ease the situation, Dr Jossof resigned as head of government on 29 October 1965. Thus the first attempt of democratisation, known as the “silent revolution”, had failed. Up to April 1978, there were nine following governments, and they were also nowhere near being able to satisfy the basic needs of the population.

King Saher, the shadow of Allah, is swept away (1973–1978)

In many areas, Afghanistan was one of the least developed and poorest countries in the world. According to UN statistics, it was the most underdeveloped state in Asia even then.
Despite the neo-colonial “development aid” granted to Afghanistan by the Western states, especially the USA and the FRG, over decades, the socio-economic situation in Afghanistan had deteriorated from year to year. The only thing that continued to grow was the debt, not least for the numerous, partly unsuccessful or failed, development projects2, so that the situation became increasingly threatening for the monarchy.
The majority of the Afghan population had already been living on the edge of the subsistence level, and when, after the devastating drought of 1971/72, there were approximately a million and a half famine victims, this sealed the fate of King Mohammad Saher’s reign. “The time for the decision of either provoking the revolution of those who are in the shadow, or implementing a modern democracy by means of drastic measures, was not far off. Sooner or later, the monarchy would have to make something happen, or something would happen to the monarchy.”3
On 17 July 1973, the militia officers belonging to the Democratic People’s Party of Afghanistan (DVPA) staged a coup against the monarchy and installed Muhammad Daud (who had been Prime Minister from 1953 to 1963, and was the brother-in-law and cousin of the king) in power. The Daud government, however, did not carry out any of the reforms which he had promised in his first “adress to the nation.” In his foreign policy, he abandoned Afghanistan’s traditional policy of nonalignment by intensifying relations with the Shah of Iran, with Anwar Al Sadat of Egypt, with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
First Daud excluded peu à peu all left forces from all important positions, and moreover, he proceeded to open repression against the party leadership of the DVPA in the spring of 1978. In addition, there was the political terror of the Islamists and the secret services, to which prestigious DVPA politicians and representatives fell victim. Mir Akbar Chaibar, founding member of the party and a member of the politbureau was shot dead in the street on 18 April 1978. Moreover, Daud had the whole party leadership arrested with only a few exceptions; they were to be liquidated.
When this message was broadcasted on the Afghan television in the evening, there was a military uprising under the leadership of parts of the DVPA against the Daud regime on 27 April 1978. This led to the beginning of a revolutionary process (April Revolution).4 The military freed the party leaders and delegated the management of the state to them. Their secretary general, Nur Mohammad Taraki, became chairman of the Revolutionary Council and prime minister; Babrak Karmal became his deputy, and Hafisullah Amin the new foreign minister. So the second attempt to democratise the country on the Hindukush had also failed.

The Afghan example must not be replicated (1978–1980)

After the successful uprising of 27 April 1978, the Revolutionary Government began to implement reform measures such as the regulation of matrimonial and divorce matters (Decree No 7 of 17 October 1978), the Land Reform (Decree No 8 of 28 November 1978), as well as a comprehensive literacy programme to break up the feudal and semi-feudal structures.5 The fight against illiteracy was initially so successful that in half a year about 1.5 million people learned to read and write, for which Afghanistan received a prize from UNESCO. 27,000 permanent courses were set up throughout the country, with a total of 600,000 people taking part in them.6
Many mistakes were made in the hasty implementation of the reforms. Among other things, it was not possible to prepare the population for the revolutionary measures, which inevitably led to the strengthening of the counter-revolution.
At the end of 1979, the situation of the government was so hopeless that Soviet military aid became indispensable in order to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a second Chile (military coup against the Allende government on 11 September 1973).7 The Afghan government asked the Soviet Union for help, in total 21 times,8 – among others in a telephone conversation on 18 March 1979 between N.M. Taraki and the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, Alexei N. Kossygin.9 The conflict in Afghanistan was internationalised with the Soviet military engagement beginning on 27. December 1979, based on Article 4 of the Afghan-Soviet Friendship Treaty of 5 December 1978 and on Article 51 of the UN Charter. It was fueled by most Western countries, including the FRG and its regional allies, initially in a covert way, later openly. The former  spokesman of the CDU/CSU Bundestag parliamentary party, Jürgen Todenhöfer, vehemently advocated the equipment and military buildup of counterrevolutionaries with the most modern weapons and on site, he motivated the local fanatics to fight and to destroy Afghanistan.
The imperialist countries were delighted to have lured the Soviet Union into a trap. Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former security adviser of US president Jimmy Carter (1977–1981), emphasised this in an interview with “Le Nouvel Observateur”: “We have not urged the Russians to intervene10, but we have deliberately enhanced the possibility that they should do so.”11
Beginning in 1979, “the largest secret operation in the history of the CIA was carried out against Afghanistan”.12 Immediately after the April revolution, about 35,000 radical Islamists from 40 Islamic countries13 were restructured into powerful and armed organisations and unleashed on Afghanistan, under the direction of the US secret service CIA and its Pakistani brother organization Inter Service Intelligence (ISI).14 In this way, more than 100,000 Islamists have been directly influenced by the war against Afghanistan.15 In the financial year of 1985, the CIA has supported the Afghan counter-revolution “with the record sum of 250 million dollars”16. This represented “over 80 per cent of the CIA budget for secret operations”.17 According to the Spiegel, the Islamists were officially armed to the amount of “more than two billion US dollars” during the first ten years of the civil war in Afghanistan.18
It was vital that Afghanistan would not be allowed to become an example. Otherwise the rulers of the entire region, ranging from the closest allies of the US in Iran to the despotic Arab potentates, would have been swept away by revolutionary storms. The Iranian February Revolution in 1979 was a prime example, when the Shah of Iran, one of the most powerful rulers in the region, and the most important ally of the Western world alongside the NATO partner Turkey, was driven out. As a consequence of this event, the US was forced to move its spy stations from the Iranian-Soviet border to Turkey, to withdraw its 40,000 military advisors, and to close the headquarters of the CIA’s regional headquarters in Teheran19.
When the Afghan leaders failed to resolve the conflict politically, they decided to capitulate. This paved the way for Islamisation and destroyed a great hope of the population.

The Beginning of Islamisation (1992)

The new leaders, led by Foreign Minister Abdul Wakil, Najmudin Kawiani, Farid Masdak (all three were members of the Political Bureau), and Najibullah’s former deputy and successor Abdul Rahim Hatef decided to transfer power to the counterrevolutionaries on 27 April 1992. Subsequently, Sebghatullah Modjadedi, their exiled president, became the first head of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Because of their divergent political and economic interests, however, the Islamists did not manage to rule the country together. The peace, so long desired by the people,  did not return. On the contrary, the war continued with an unprecedented brutality. The global public was hardly aware of this, but “The latest news from the Afghan capital of Kabul has made the civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina appear almost as a harmless conflict: 3,000 to 4,000 dead20, 200,000 refugees, a city without water, electricity and food.”21
The big cities, including Kabul, were laid waste. Observers even spoke of the incineration of Kabul.22 This historical failure of the Islamists was contrary to the political-economic and strategic interests of their foreign clients. In the opinion of these, a regime in Afghanistan which closely cooperated with the US and Pakistan should create stable political conditions so as to realise the concept of US and Pakistani capital investment in the Middle East region, particularly in the Central Asian Republics. This was the birth of the Taliban, brought into existence by the United States.
The Talibanisation (1994)
The country, Afghanistan, which had long been forgotten by the world public and was denigrated as belonging to the “Waisenkinder der Weltpolitik”, the lost countries of world politics23, only became the preeminent topic of the international media with the public appearance of the Taliban in September 1994, with their conquest of Kabul on 27 September 1996 and their fundamentalist policy of extreme hostility against women and culture. The latter culminated in the destruction of the Buddha statues in Bamyan (Central Afghanistan) at the beginning of March 2001.
The 11 September 2001 disaster in Washington and New York might have turned into a turning point for Afghanistan if the international community had taken into account not only the particular interests of certain powers, but also those of the Afghans.
Although the Taliban did not appear publicly until September 1994, they had already been set up as a combat group in North-Eastern Afghanistan as early as in 1985/86, according to General Aslam Beg, the former chief of general staff of Pakistan. First they had been educated there at the “Madrasah”, the religious schools, both in fundamentalist religion and in military arts. In the summer of 1984, the French Afghanistan expert Olivier Roy had already observed the activities on the Taliban fronts in the southern regions of Afghanistan, Orusgan, Sabul and Kandahar. There, “it was essentially a question of transforming a rural Madrasah into a military front.”24 They were recruited, for example, from the ranks of Afghan orphans in the refugee camps in Pakistan. Under direct command of the Pakistani army and the secret service ISI, they were deployed with the various Mujahedin groups as required. According to General Beg, the Mujahedin were “generously financed by the governments of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and perhaps the United States.”25
In my view, the following aspects were crucial in the decision to use the Taliban as an independent military formation in the Afghan Civil War:

  1. In the spring of 1994, the leaders of the rival Afghanistan Mujahedin were ordered by the US Congress’s Foreign Affairs Committee to participate in a meeting in Washington. The Mujahedin either sent second-ranking leaders or did not follow this “invitation” at all. Those Mujahedin leaders who were present were shown a plan for the implementation of a pipeline project from the world’s third largest reserves of oil and gas in Central Asia through Afghanistan to the Indian Ocean. The largest Western oil companies had fought a “merciless struggle” for this pipeline project since 1990.26 The Mujahedin were asked to come to a mutual agreement as soon as possible so as not to delay the realisation of the project.27 The representatives of the Mujahedin promised the US to resolve the Afghanistan conflict peacefully soon, but they never fulfilled this promise.
    The Taliban are nothing else but the product of the economic interests of the US and its regional allies. The historical failure of the Mujahedin was the birth of the Taliban as an independent, organised fighting unit on the Afghanistan battleground.
    Well-organised military units that seemingly originated from nowhere and were now known as the Taliban, attacked the Afghan city of Kandahar in September 1994 from Pakistan. This was the beginning of another attempt at a military solution of the Afghanistan conflict, which was favoured by the US and its regional allies. It was considered to be the Taliban’s historic mission to occupy all of Afghanistan so as to create conditions for the realisation of the economic, political and ideological projects of the US, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. In addition there was the specific geo-strategic interest of Pakistan in its neighbouring country. “We would prefer a puppet regime in Kabul, controlling the whole country and friendly towards Pakistan,”28 a Pakistani strategist noted.
  2. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the mujahid favoured by the US and its allies in the Afghanistan conflict, fell in disgrace because of his anti-Western statements, for his support for the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during the Second Gulf War and for his categorical refusal to return the Stinger missiles, which he had received in large quantities from the USA and which were still in his possession. He even provoked a direct affront against the US by selling them partly to Iran.
  3. The Central Asian market was seen as a not negligible export field for Pakistani products. But the only way to get there is via Afghan territory. After a meeting with representatives of Saudi Arabian and US oil companies, the then Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gave an ultimatum to the Taliban to put an end to the occupation of the whole of Afghanistan by the end of the summer of 1997.29 It was no longer a secret that regular Pakistani troops participated in the Taliban’s combat missions to enforce Nawaz Sharif’s demand, for “on their own the Taliban could not even conquer a village.”30
  4. Both the US and Saudi Arabia wanted to curb the ideological influence of their rival Iran in Afghanistan. As the Mujahedin groups had also proved themselves incapable in this, the Taliban had to take their place.

US war at the Hindu Kush (2001 to when?)

While the US war against Afghanistan was still going on, a government for Afghanistan was formed on the Petersberg near Bonn on 5 December 2001, under the leadership of the UN. There were representatives of the Mujahedins, who knew each other from the long-standing civil war. Those who were gathered were mostly those forces that had played a major role in the destruction of Kabul from 1992 to 1996, with more than 50,000 civilians dead. The Uzbeg general Abdul Rashid Dostum, the only secular militia leader of Afghanistan, had not even been invited to this conference.
Among the international observers, the United States alone was represented by 20 persons. This oversized presence suggests a strong interference with the course and outcome of the negotiations. Therefore, the USA prevailed with their nomination of Karsey as Prime Minister, although he was not present on Petersberg, but was on an US warship in the Indian Ocean. The international community under US leadership spoke of a “democratisation” of Afghanistan, but it brought power to Islamists, warlords and war criminals. This was the fourth time that the hopes of the afflicted Afghan population for a lasting peace and democratisation were disappointed: 1. After the withdrawal of the Soviet military units in 1989, 2. With the takeover of the Mujahedin in 1992, 3. With the Taliban invasion 1994 to 1996, 4. With the expulsion of the Taliban in 2001. Thus the international community has not only missed another opportunity to help Afghanistan towards establishing democracy, but it has also documented the failure of a conflict solution with military means.

Attempts at integrating the Taliban

With its war against Afghanistan, the Bush administration declared the obliteration of the Taliban and of al-Quaeda under the leadership of Osama bin Laden the immediate goal of this war. After realising that the Taliban were not as easily crushed as al-Quaeda, let alone being driven out of the country, Western strategists introduced a new differentiation. Now, al-Quaeda was alleged to pursue an international agenda as opposed to the Taliban’s local activities. This differentiation was meant to suggest that the Taliban’s fight was focussed nationally and only directed against Western military stationed in Afghanistan at the time. That is why it was attempted to integrate them into the colonial-like political structures at the Hindu Kush. Firstly, in order to implement this strategy successfully, pressure on the Taliban was to be increased by driving wedges between them as well as by physically eliminating individual field commanders.
The government consultants of Berlin’s German Institute for International and Security Affairs (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, SWP) supported a “‘decapitation strike’ against the leaders of Afghan rebel groups [Quetta-Shura, meaning the Taliban, the Haqqani network and Hebz-e-Islami, which is run by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar], with the goal of weakening the military opposition […] significantly”.31 Ultimately, this reads like an instigation to murder, which is forbidden and punishable according to the German Criminal Code (StGB) §26. “Whoever intentionally induces another to intentionally commit an unlawful act, shall, as an inciter, be punished the same as a perpetrator.” Accordingly, the abettor would have to receive a punishment equal to the one given to the perpetrator.
Afterwards, certain political and military demands were to be put to the Taliban, and they would be required to fulfil them.
Then, Western strategists discovered the “moderate” Taliban as possible negotiation partners.
In April 2007, Kurt Beck, then leader of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD), suggested a peace conference for Afghanistan in which all groups relevant on the Hindu Kush including the Taliban should have to be allowed to participate. However, that plan did not come to fruition immediately. Nevertheless, secret talks continued to be held between the conflicting parties, some of which took place in Germany. It took six more years until the Taliban opened their first liason office in Qatar’s capital Doha, on 18 June 2013. There, islamists, the US and the Afghan government were to carry out their negotiations.
US interest in negotiations was rooted in the fact that the war had simply become too expensive. According to official statistics, the war cost 1.5 billion dollars every week in its peak phase. Because of that over 135,000 US and NATO combat forces were to be withdrawn from Afghanistan. Those ideas that the West had issued for Afghanistan in 2001, like flourishing landscapes and other lofty goals including but not limited to human rights, democracy, good governance, had long been abandoned by the occupying US forces and their allies. “The US has signalled that it will let the Taliban have free reign in their territory in future as long as they refrain from making this a refuge for international terrorists.”32 The Taliban outfitted their Doha representation with a banner reading “Islamic Emirate Afghanistan” and thus laid their claim as a parallel government, which in turn was seen as an affront by the Kabul administration. Until that point, the Taliban had always rejected talks with them, because they saw President Karsei as a mere puppet of US interests.
At the end of the negotiations, the Taliban were supposed to take a role in government, provided that they would accept the 2004 Afghan Constitution. The Taliban, however, invoked Sharia Law. That’s why a breakdown of the negotiations in Doha was inevitable, due to maximum demands on both sides.
At the beginning of 2016, a new attempt was made at rekindling the deadlocked peace process in and around Afghanistan. On January 11th, representatives of the governments of Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the US met in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad in order to develop a roadmap for peace for the country on the Hindu Kush. In his opening remarks, the foreign policy consultant for the Pakistani government, Sartaj Aziz, pointed out that the Taliban should be given incentives not to resort to violence anymore. However, he noted that “expectations shouldn’t be set to high”33.
After years of secret negotiations, the Kabul administration managed to integrate former war criminal and leader of the Islamic Party of Afghanistan Gulbuddin Hekmatyar into the existing Afghan structures. Since his group hadn’t played an important military role for the last few years, this step was only of psychological and propagandistic value.

China and Russia as the new players

The Western attempts to integrate the armed opposition subsumed under the term Taliban have failed. “The Western interventions have proven to be counterproductive”34, a visibly angry Pakistani Minister of Defense, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, stressed at the Munich Security Conference in 2017.
Asif emphasized that the West was responsible for the failed military operations in Afghanistan, as well as in Iraq, Libya, and Syria, and the consequences thereof. He further stated that the international military coalition under US-leadership at Hindu Kush had left behind “nothing else than one big chaos”. For a political solution of the conflict in and around Afghanistan, a regional cooperation of countries such as Pakistan, the People’s Republic of China, Iran and India might have a chance of success.
Now two new players – the governments of China and of the Russian Federation – are trying as neutral intermediaries to facilitate a new political solution. Since the People’s Republic of China is a strategic partner for Pakistan, the Taliban have expressed their approval. As a neutral mediator, Russia is accepted by all parties involved. At the end of December 2016, China, Russia and Pakistan agreed to have certain selected Taliban leaders taken off the UN sanctions list. This is meant to encourage a peaceful dialogue between the Kabul administration and the Taliban. While the reaction of the government in Kabul was reserved, the Taliban welcomed the proposal. Charles Cleveland, NATO speaker in Kabul, told Kabul Tolo-TV, that the “Russian involvement with the Taliban”35 had him worried, because it would legitimise the Taliban as an organisation. However, Cleveland emphasized that they wanted to strengthen the Kabul government.
Despite this, the government of the Russian Federation has again invited to talks about Afghanistan on 14 April 2017 in Moscow, as Mohammad Hanif Atmar, security advisor of the Kabul President, told the press agency Interfax on 18 March 2017.
While the Kabul administration sent a head of the department to Moscow, representatives from China, Iran, India and Pakistan the five Central Asian ex-Soviet republics were involved, as well as experts from Russia and Afghanistan. The United States and the Taliban were also invited.36 Both rejected participation37, which was tantamount to a boycott. The participants of the conference enjoined the Taliban to attend peace talks. Their leaders should move away from a violent resolution of the conflict and start negotiations with the government in Kabul, said the Russian Foreign Ministry on 14 April 2017. Possible peace talks could take place in Moscow.
Instead of participating in the peace negotiations, the US Army dropped a bomb39 worth “16 million US dollar”38 in eastern Afghanistan on the eve of the Moscow peace conference. “But throwing a 10,000 kilogramme bomb on a group of lightly armed terrorists is like shooting at sparrows with cannons.”40 According to the first breaking news, at least 36 people whom the US military labeled IS-fighters were killed.41 According to the regional government, however, there were at least 94 dead, as radio “Deutsche Welle” reported.42 The Afghan population sees this massive bombardment as an act of revenge by the US. A few days earlier, a US American elite soldier had been killed during an operation in the same region.43

Afghanistan could have a perspective

In Afghanistan like elsewhere, external factors have not solved the conflict; on the contrary, only foreign interests have been transported to Afghanistan and in this way, political solutions have been destroyed.
Only after 16 years of NATO’s war, destruction and human catastrophes on the Hindukush, some Western politicians such as the German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel have come to realise that “military interventions have failed and [...] there has been no stabilisation”.44 For this reason, people are leaving Afghanistan en masse. It is time to let the conflict be resolved by Afghans, in Afghanistan, and in Afghanistan’s national interests.
For more than thirty-nine years, the “international community” has been conducting a covert war and for fifteen years an open war against Afghanistan. In this way, it has largely destroyed the social fabric of the country: the infrastructure, the economic, political and social foundations have been shattered to such an extent that there will be no functioning society on the Hindukush in the foreseeable future.
On the basis of my own field research and numerous discussions with people belonging to the most varied strata and classes in Afghanistan, I have come to the conclusion that it has long been time to think about alternatives to the NATO war. Thirty-nine years of war are more than enough. We must seriously seek new ways to peace. The following theses might serve as a basis for discussion:

  1. Unilateral and unconditional cease-fire on the part of NATO, initially for at least six months.
  2. Replacement of the NATO units by an International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) consisting of units of Islamic and of non-aligned states. Four-fifths of all UN blue helmet soldiers stem from non-aligned states, so why should that not be the case in Afghanistan.
  3. Dissolution of all NATO military bases and strongpoints as well as of contracts concerning this matter concluded with the Kabul administration.
  4. Invitation to follow a national reconciliation policy with all political groups, including those of Islamic character, such as the Taliban, the Hesbe Islami of Gulbudin Hekmatyar and the Haqani Network.
  5. Formation of a truth commission according to the model of South Africa.
  6. Dissolution of all military and paramilitary associations of the warlords as well as of foreign and Afghan private security companies.
  7. Preparation for countrywide elections in villages, regions, districts, etc., to a national Loya Djerga (council), under the control of independent international organisations such as moverments for peace, for women, as well as students and trade union movements.
  8. Constitution of a popular Loya Djerga elected by the people, and no appointment of their deputies by the President.
  9. This Loya Djerga is to elect a provisional government and commissions devise a constitutional draft, based on the abolition of the presidential system. They should also work on laws concerning elections, political parties and trade unions.
  10. Implementation of general, free parliamentary elections, controlled by independent panels.
  11. Election of a new government directly by parliament, without a prior proposal from the current interim prime minister.
  12. Abolition of open-door policies and initiation of an economic, financial, customs- and fiscal-policy based on national interests.
  13. Measures for the reconstruction of the destroyed country, for which a quarter of the NATO war expenditure would have to be spent. These funds are to be parked on an independent trust account and can only be used on a project-linked basis.
  14. The neighbours of Afghanistan should be given priority in the reconstruction work. This will foster regional cooperation and stability.
  15. In the region around Afghanistan, a mid-South Asian Union should be aimed at, with, in addition to Afghanistan, the five Central Asian countries of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan as well as Iran, Pakistan and India as members. For all these countries have many similarities, such as languages, religions and history.
  16. As a trust-building measure, Afghanistan should be the first country to begin to dissolve its national army after about five years.
  17. A Central South-East Asian Union could contribute to a definitive resolution of the Kashmir conflict between India and Pakistan and the Durand line conflict between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  18. Then it would be time to reduce and abolish the nuclear arsenal of India and Pakistan. As a result, one of the most conflicting regions on the Asian continent could become a zone of peace, stability and prosperity.                •

* Dr phil Matin Baraki is a German-Afghan political scientist, interpreter and an expert on development politics. He studied educational theory in Kabul and has worked as a teacher. Until 1974, Baraki also worked as a Technical Assistant at the Faculty of Natural Sciences of the University of Kabul. In 1974 he moved to the Federal Republic of Germany and promoted at the Philipps-University Marburg in 1995. After that, he carried out teaching assignments on international politics at the universities of Marburg, Giessen, Kassel and Münster. Baraki publishes on the Middle East and Central Asia.

1.    cf. Afghanistan nach dem Besuch Chruschtschews – Erklärungen des Fürsten Daud. (Afghanistan after Khrushchev’s visit – declarations of Prince Daud.) In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung from 9.3.1960
2.    See Baraki, Matin. Die Beziehungen zwischen Afghanistan und der Bundesrepublik Deutschland 1945–1978. (Relations between Afghanistan and the Federal Republic of Germany 1945-1978.) Frankfurt/M. 1996, p. 201-548
3.    Ackermann, Klaus. Stille Revolution in Afghanistan. (Silent Revolution in Afghanistan.) In: Aussenpolitik. magazine 1, Vol. 16, Stuttgart 1965, p. 34
4.    See in detail: Baraki, Matin. Theorie und Praxis der nationaldemokratischen Revolution am Beispiel Afghanistans. (The Theory and Practice of the National Democratic Revolution through the Example of Afghanistan. In: Kraft, Dieter (Eds.). Aus Kirche und Welt: Festschrift zum 80. Geburtstag von Hanfried Müller. (From Church and World: Commemorative publication for the 80th birthday of Hanfried Müller.) Berlin, 2006, pp. 284-310
5.    See Taraki, Nur Mohammad. Grundlinie der revolutionären Aufgaben der Regierung der Demokratischen Republik Afghanistan“ (Taraki, Nur Mohammad. Basic line of the revolutionary tasks of the Government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan), 9 May 1978. In: Brönner, Wolfram. Afghanistan, Revolution und Konterrevolution. Frankfurt/M. 1980, p. 203
6.    See Karmal, Babrak. Speech at the ninth plenum of the Central Committee of the Democratic People’s Party of Afghanistan. Kabul. Asad 1361 [July/August 1982]. P. 18 in Dari (archive of the author)
7.    “I do not see why we should allow a country to become marxist, just because its people are irresponsible,” US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger announced on 27 June 1970 in a familiar set in Washington DC, with regard to his contribution to the fall of the Salvador Allendes government on 11 September 1973 in Chile. In: Dederichs, Mario R. “Reagan legt die Lunte an“ (Reagan sets the fuse). In: Stern, No. 32, 4.8.1983, p. 102. Schmid, Thomas. “Der andere 11. September“. (The other September 11th). In: Die Zeit 38, 11 September 2003, p. 90
8.    See Sapper, Manfred: Die Auswirkungen des Afghanistan-Krieges auf die Sowjetgesellschaft. (The Impact of the Afghanistan War on the Soviet Union). Munster 1994, p. 68
9.    See the minutes of the meeting of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU, 18 March 1979, according to Sapper, M.: Die Auswirkungen des Afghanistan-Krieges auf die Sowjetgesellschaft. (The Impact of the Afghanistan War on the Soviet Union) pp. 385
10.    The Soviet army was withdrawn from Afghanistan after ten years on 15 February 1989.
11.    Les Révélations d’un Ancien Conseiller de Carter, «Oui, la CIA est entrée en Afghanistan avant les Russes […]». In: Le Nouvel Observateur, 15-21 janvier 1998, p. 76 (own translations and accentuations by the author)
12.    Chossudovsky, Michel. Global brutal. Frankfurt/M. 2002, p. 359
13.    A friend of mine was a professor at the Riyadh University in Saudi Arabia. He reported that 5% had been deducted from the salaries of the Saudi state employees and officials without their consent for the jihad in Afghanistan. This was no different in other Arab sheikhdoms.
14.    See Baraki, A. Matin. : “Nacht über Afghanis­tan“(Night over Afghanistan). In: Marxistische Blätter. Vol. 31. Essen 1993, No  4, pp. 17.
15.    Chossudovsky, Michel. Global brutal, p. 359
16.    “CIA-Hilfe für afghanischen Widerstand höher denn je” (CIA aid to Afghan resistance higher than ever). In: Frankfurter Rundschau of 14 January 1985, p. 2
17.    Ibid
18.    “Absolut blind” (Absolutely blind). In: Der Spiegel, No 38, 1989, p. 194
19.    Cf. Brönner, Wolfram. Afghanistan, ibid. p. 18
20.    The complete destruction of Kabul resulted in more than 50,000 dead.
21.    Sichrovsky, Peter. “Ein Land zerfleischt sich selbst.” (A country tears itself to pieces) In: Süd­deutsche Zeitung from 31.8.1992, p. 4
22.    cf. Gatter, Peer. „Hoffnung in Trümmern“ (Hope lying in ruins). In: Mahfel. Berlin 1995. No 5, p. 7
23.    cf. Ghali, Butros Butros. “Die Aufgabe des Sisyphus” (The task of Sisyphus). In: Der Spiegel. No 31/96 from 29.7.1996, p. 116
24.    Roy, Olivier. „Die Taliban-Bewegung in Afghanistan“ (The Taliban movement in Afghanistan). In: “Afghanistan-Info”. Neuchâtel. No 36. February 1995. Cited from: Mahfel. magazine 2. Berlin 1995, p. 8
25.    Jung, in The News from 3 March 1995, cited from: “Taliban schon seit 1985/86?” (Taleban already since 1985/86?) In: ibid, p. 5
26.    Newsweek of 17 April 1995 and Artico, A. “Afghanistans ferngesteuerte Glaubenskrieger“ (Afghanistan’s remote-controlled religious warriors).  In: Le Monde Diplomatique. November 1995, p. 15. This was also about Uzbekistan, the country north of Afghanistan, and about the world’s richest goldmines with a yearly capacity of about 50 tonnes and the world‘s largest silver deposit as well as uranium in Kyrgyzstan.
27.    After more than twenty years, it had still been impossible to realise the project, despite the massive US military presence at the Hindukush.
28.    Haubold, Erhard: “In Afghanistan spielen die UN noch eine untergeordnete Rolle” ( In Afghanistan, the UN are still playing a tangential role), in: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung from 26.10.1996, p. 1
29.    “Krieg um Bodenschätze” (War about natural resources). In: Der Spiegel No 22/1997 from 26.5.1997
30.    Haubold, Erhard. “In Afghanistan spielen die UN noch eine untergeordnete Rolle” ( In Afghanistan, the UN are still playing a tangential role), ibid., p. 2
31.    Wörmer, Nils/Kaim, Markus. “Afghanistan nach den gescheiterten Präsidentschaftswahlen im April 2014” (Afghanistan after the failed presidential elections in April 2014), p. 23. In: Perthes, Volker/Lippert, Barbara (ed.). “Ungeplant bleibt der Normalfall – Acht Situationen, die politische Aufmerksamkeit verdienen“ (Unplanned remains normal practice - Eight situations deserving of political attention). Berlin, SWP study on 16.9.13
32.    Sydow, Christoph: “Die Kapitulation des Westens in Afghanistan” (The West’s surrender in Afghanistan). Spiegel Online, 20.6.2013
33.    The efforts for peace in Afghanistan, in: Neue Zürcher Zeitung , 12.1.2016, p. 3
34.    34 Matern, Tobias. “Eine Sache von Jahrzehnten” (A matter of decades). In: Süddeutsche Zeitung, 20.2.2017, p. 2
35.    Petersen, Britta. “Die Rückkehr des ‘Grossen Spiels’ um Afghanistan” (The return of the “Big Game” for Afghanistan). In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 3.1.2017, p. 4
36.    cf. „Russland organisiert Afghanistan-Treffen.“ (Russia organises Afghanistan-meeting) dpa from 19.3.2017 and Deutschlandfunk from 14.4.2017
37.    cf. Böge, Friederike/Schmidt, Friedrich. “Kratzen an der Nato-Flanke” (Scratching NATO’s flanc). In Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of 13. April 2017
38.    “Gazeta Wyborcza” of 15. April 2017. cf. Tages­ of 14. April 2017
39.    With this bombardment the US destroyed a tunnel system which they themselves had built for the terroristic Mudschahedin in the 1980s.
40.    De Telegraaf of 15. April 2017
41.    cf. dpa from 14.4.2017
42.    “Afghanistan-Konferenz zu Frieden auf.” (Afghanistan conference calls for Taleban to keep peace) Deutsche Welle Online from 14. April 2017
43.    cf. Böge, Friederike. “Bombe mit Signalwirkung.” (Bomb has signal effect) In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung from 15.4.2017, p. 2
44.    “Gabriel sucht die Konfrontation in der Nato” (Gabriel seeks confrontation with NATO). In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung from 1 April 2017, p. 2

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