Afghanistan: Blood and Hunger

Unknown is Afghanistan’s trajectory of developments. None of the players, external and internal, knows the highly-contested land’s flight path. All of the players are unsure of possible impact of each of the tactical moves being taken by each of them. So, there’re compro-mises or postures to compromise, and contest—cold and hot.

Already an empire has experienced, as has been admitted, strategic failure in that land. At least one faction in the Empire is telling: War in Afghanistan isn’t over. At least two forces within that landlocked land are getting prepared to carry on their bloody fight while at least one force, faction-ridden, is rifle-ready to counter all counter-forces. A few forces are playing on both sides and are uncertain about self-moves while a few are posturing to be a player in the chess game. Thus, Afghanistan is yet vexata quaestio—a disputed question, and there’s not going to be a single combat.

Other than these tales of chess moves, fundamental questions remain unsolved in the country: rights, dignified life, exploitation, poverty, inequality, equal access to health-shelter-education, people’s political power and participation, people’s ownership of commons and environment-ecology, equity in ownership, fair wage, vested interests. Has the question of land reform been resolved? The same with the questions related to economy—agriculture, industry, trade, transport, infrastructure, etc., and natural resources. Has the question of interference by external forces been resolved? Do the people there know the extent of their rights? What’s the legitimacy and source of legitimacy of power there now? Constitution, form of governance, power and source of power to legislate face similar question. Are the millions languishing in poverty and ignorance aware of these issues? Reality, probably, will tell: Only fools, unaware of reality, raise the questions now. An irony of reality! Is it now only to say: “Fata viam invenient”—the Fates will find out a way? (Virgil, Aeneid, X)

Today’s Afghan-reality is full of contradictions and unresolved questions: forces claiming to be standing for the country rob people of their rights; forces claiming to be standing for people don’t stand against ignorance; forces claiming to be standing for rights stand on a narrow base.

Hunger is hunting millions. Many in Kabul are selling out their domestic goods and appliances. They plan procuring food. Condition of agriculture inputs is unknown. Can the millions, an unorganised mass, unheard and immobilised, voice their agony and pain? Concerned UN agencies have already warned of intensifying hunger and famine’s knock at the door. So much blood, and so much hunger!

What about space for democratic struggle in this situation deluged with fear and threat? Has the reality thrown the question of democracy, not the “democracy” that the Empire builds, away from life that finds an overwhelming nay in all spheres?

Factors were active for long behind the situation evolving to today. That requires a deep reckoning. But, before to that assessment, the fact that stands stark is the people’s present condition: hapless, a stalemate in forward journey, a complex class struggle. To someone, it may appear – a people denied of all of life. The role of UN is questionable. The so-called international community is silent. The new stake-holders are yet to reconcile themselves with the old reality. The situation is still volatile. The fate of hundreds of thousands of refugees living in sub-human conditions in Pakistani camps is uncertain.


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Vol. 54, No. 19, Nov 7 - 13, 2021