By Caleb T. Maupin
Published Apr 25, 2010 7:38 PM
In one remote region of Afghanistan, the Korengal Valley, the Pentagon has decided to close down its embattled outpost, seeing that its efforts are useless and that the people of this region will not submit to occupation.
Forty-two U.S. troops died there, most between 2006 and 2009, and hundreds more were injured. Many more Afghan troops were killed in fighting, probably because Afghans hired to enforce Western domination are routinely not provided with as much protection and body armor as their Western paymasters and counterparts.
More and more Afghans have joined the resistance and are fighting with the hope that the U.S. occupiers will be driven not just from this forested valley by the banks of the Pech River, but from their entire homeland.
Some historical background can help explain this resistance. After the 1979 revolution led by the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan, the mountains and valleys of the Afghan countryside became economically prosperous. Philip Bonosky, a reporter from the U.S. who resided in Afghanistan during that time, describes this in his book, “Afghanistan: Washington’s Secret War.”
At that time, the PDPA government worked to provide employment for the residents of the rural areas as part of its efforts to assist the people of the country, the majority of whom were peasants, along with a few low-paid industrial workers.
With Soviet material aid, the PDPA government provided employment for youth throughout the countryside, mobilized to teach them to read, and offered medical care and other necessities unknown to many Afghans during the preceding years of Western domination of the country’s government and economy.
Bonosky notes how much of Afghanistan’s great forests had been decimated through years of unregulated harvesting by foreign capitalists. However, young people organized under the leadership of the Marxist-Leninist Democratic Youth League attempted to reforest the countryside and heal the ecological damage the capitalists had inflicted in order to build a sustainable environment for the Afghan people.
The revolutionary regime carried out a massive Soviet-funded jobs program, which helped improve life for millions of Afghans who dwelled in the mountainous regions and had previously barely survived.
When U.S.-sponsored mercenaries defeated the PDPA government after a lengthy war, the victors sold off vast natural resources of Afghanistan to those who had collaborated with the West. Many of those who profited from the removal of the popular regime were not themselves even born in Afghanistan. Many had been hired with CIA funds to wage war against the democratic government and its Soviet defenders.
Class war in the countryside
Once the PDPA government was driven out in the 1980s, the Korengal Valley, like many other areas, was run by a class of Western-backed “timber lords,” capitalists in the lumber industry who often employ their own private armies. These lords rule without question in a totally “free market” where no government intervention exists and money is the only law. It was only in 2006 that government forces of any kind re-entered the region. (New York Times, Feb. 24, 2008)
The people of the Korengal Valley have shown they will not submit to Washington’s wishes. Many villagers live in houses embedded into the sides of mountains. They have loudly refused to recognize the pro-U.S. puppet regime in Kabul or to accept Western “aid” meant to buy their compliance. (New York Times, April 14)
Even after Oct. 20, 2007, when 2,000 pounds of bombs were dropped on the village of Yaka China in the valley, turning five innocent civilians into “collateral damage,” the will of the people to resist did not dry up. (uruknet.info)
Despite nine years of occupation, thousands of deaths, bombings and other brutality designed to force the Afghan population to submit, it seems that the U.S. has been unable to “stabilize” even this single wooded valley.
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