September 20, 2003
The Guardian (UK)

Afghanistan: 'The Generosity of America'

by John Pilger

At the Labour party conference following the September 11 attacks, Tony Blair said memorably: "To the Afghan people, we make this commitment. We will not walk away... If the Taliban regime changes, we will work with you to make sure its successor is one that is broadbased, that unites all ethnic groups and offers some way out of the poverty that is your miserable existence." He was echoing George Bush, who had said a few days earlier: "The oppressed people of Afghanistan will know the generosity of America and its allies. As we strike military targets, we will also drop food, medicine and supplies to the starving and suffering men and women and children of Afghanistan. The US is a friend of the Afghan people."

Almost every word they spoke was false. Their declarations of concern were cruel illusions that prepared the way for the conquest of both Afghanistan and Iraq. As the illegal Anglo-American occupation of Iraq now unravels, the forgotten disaster in Afghanistan, the first "victory" in the "war on terror", is perhaps an even more shocking testament to power.

It was my first visit. In a lifetime of making my way through places of upheaval, I had not seen anything like it. Kabul is a glimpse of Dresden post-1945, with contours of rubble rather than streets, where people live in collapsed buildings, like earthquake victims waiting for rescue. They have no light and heat; their apocalyptic fires burn through the night. Hardly a wall stands that does not bear the pock-marks of almost every calibre of weapon. Cars lie upended at roundabouts. Power poles built for a modern fleet of trolley buses are twisted like paperclips. The buses are stacked on top of each other, reminiscent of the pyramids of machines erected by the Khmer Rouge to mark Year Zero.

There is a sense of Year Zero in Afghanistan. . . .


Enver Masud, "Deadly Deception, Pretexts for War," The Wisdom Fund, July 30, 2001

Enver Masud, "What Really Happened on September 11 Remains a Mystery," The Wisdom Fund, April 27, 2002

Standard Schaeffer, "'Al Qaeda Itself Does Not Exist'," CounterPunch, June 21, 2003

[To build the new housing, which would be for Afghan cabinet ministers, government officials and mujahedeen commanders, a crew of 100 armed police officers with bulldozers started demolishing the modest mud-walled houses of about 30 families two weeks ago.--Carlotta Gall, "Housing Plan for Top Aides in Afghanistan Draws Rebuke," New York Times, September 21, 2003]

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