People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 17

April 25, 2010

Taliban Attacks Progressive Forces


R Arun Kumar


TALIBAN have struck again by brutally murdering young revolutionary Comrade Nisar Ahmed. He was brutally martyred in a targeted bomb attack by the Taliban forces in Timargara, Pukhtoonkhwa province (formerly known as NWFP) on 6 April 2010. Dr Abduallah another leader accompanying him was seriously injured. Comrade Nisar Ahmad was only 40 years old and was very active since his student days. He was a member of the Democratic Students' Federation (DSF) and secretary of Government Degree college. He became a member of the Communist party and slowly rose through the ranks of the party to lead the party in that area. He left behind a 2 year old child and wife.

Though Comrade Nisar was living in an area which is a bastion of the forces of obscurantism and religious extremism, and being well aware of the seriousness of the situation, he never compromised and remained committed to the Marxist ideology and revolutionary spirit. He actively participated and worked for the Pakistan peace and solidarity council. The brutal murder of Comrade Nisar is not an isolated case in the areas under the control of the Taliban on either side of the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. A great number of intellectuals, writers, communist party workers, sympathisers and opponents of the Taliban have been gunned down in this region. According to one report, more than 200 activists of the Left have been kidnapped and killed by the Taliban in the past one year. The Taliban did not spare even those who have crossed 60-70 years in age and have retired from active politics due to their advanced age.

For the Taliban, communists are infidels to be hunted down. Rahmat Wazir, a Taliban commander in North Wazirstan is quoted saying, �I hear from my elders and religious leaders for many years that communists are against our religion. I do believe that they must be killed. They are our enemies and enemies must be killed�. After communists, come all other progressives who are opposed to the medieval social customs prescribed by the Taliban. The atrocities unleashed by the Taliban on anyone opposed to their prescribed code of conduct and ethics are gruesome. More than 70 Taliban courts are now ruling on hundreds of cases of �immoral activity� every week in the Swat valley. For women, refusal to wear a veil, improper dress (high heels) or improper behaviour (laughing!) and dancing in public are punishable offences, sometimes even by death. Women are not supposed to move out of the house unescorted by a male family member. For men, not sporting a beard, not praying are fit cases to be severely punished. Even using a musical ring-tone on your mobile phone is liable for punishment. These are apart from the public beheadings of teachers to the torching of girls� schools, spraying acid on girls going to school. The Taliban indulge in these sorts of atrocities in the name of Sharia and are demanding the implementation of Sharia not only in Afghanistan but also in the entire Pakistan.

Ironically, the US administration is secretly backing the Sharia law in Swat valley for their vested interests. The continuing occupation of Afghanistan by the US and its allied forces is strengthening the Taliban and other fundamentalist forces in the region. In spite of all its rhetoric, the US is failing in organising any developmental activity in the region. Moreover, the atrocities committed by the occupying forces and their mercenaries are pushing more and more people towards the religious fundamentalists. Night-time raids, searches of women, secret prisons for torture etc., deeply offend the conservative and proud Pashtuns.

The Obama administration feels that only through intensification of the war in Afghanistan can they  gain control over the region. But this in reality is increasing the number of civilian casualties. More Afghan civilians died under the Obama administration in 2009 than under his predecessor, George W Bush, during 2008. This clearly demonstrates that even by the standards of the Bush administration, the Obama regime cares less about the well-being of Afghan civilians. Women and children killed by US/NATO forces amounted to 63 per cent of the identifiable deaths (and men 37 per cent). This compares to figures respectively of 72 per cent and 28 per cent during January-August 2008. There are an estimated 1.5 million Afghan war widows in Afghanistan who are struggling to survive in a society where widowhood is socially frowned upon and where no system of social security exists.

While this is the ground reality, the US with the active connivance of the media is trying to hide real number of the civilian casualties and the plight of the innocent civilians who have lost their families in the US led attacks. The mainstream media mostly keeps away from reporting the civilian casualties or the 'accidental' attacks on civilian areas. Unfortunately the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) implicitly participates in such effort.

US is slowly desensitising the public to the level of destruction taking place in Afghanistan. They have used an array of their weaponry on the country and its people � medium-sized missiles, Tomahawk and cruise missiles, bunker-busting 2,000 lb bombs, B-52 carpet-bombing, cluster bombs and daisy cutter bombs that annihilate everything in a 600-metre radius � without avail. Now they are using the 'precision' controlled drone attacks on the people. There are more number of drone operator trainees in the US military than fighter and bomber pilots today. These drone operators are trained in using the 'joy stick' as in video games, to attack and kill people in remote locations!

The flawed policies of the US extended the war in the region apart from strengthening the hands of the religious fundamentalists. Under the pretext of fighting terrorism and rooting out extremists, all democratic voices of protest are being quelled. The security agencies in Pakistan and other right wing forces in the country are united on one aspect � crush and annihilate all the remnants of the Marxist-Leninist ideology. Many communist leaders are forced to go underground. Due to the repeated attacks on the leaders of the communist movement, some of them are forced to seek asylum in distant countries like Greece. The families of the members of the communist parties are being persecuted both by the Taliban and the security forces. The communist party had termed this entire exercise as an extension of the barbaric McCarthyism.

The Taliban is using the arms in its possession, predominantly of the US make, not only to fight the occupation forces but also for eliminating all the progressive sections in the society. This Frankenstein can be wiped out only by waging a sustained struggle led by the progressive forces in the region. For this, all the occupying forces have to leave the region at the first instance.