The truck bomb that exploded in front of Islamabad’s Marriott hotel killing at least fifty-three people heralded in the latest salvo in the U.S.’s and Mujahedin’s love/hate relationship. Their relationship began in 1979 in Afghanistan and Pakistan when the U.S., starting with Jimmy Carter and his National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brezezinski, hatched an idea of using the most extreme militant Islamists to first draw in the Soviets (to Afghanistan) and, then, go to war against them. At the time, the U.S. was allied closely with Pakistani dictator General Zia Ul-Haq. Subsequently, Zia allowed Pakistan to be the primary conduit for weapons transfers from Washington to the Mujahedin from ’79 onward.
Washington’s ongoing support for the Mujahedin, particularly during the Reagan presidency, was an action carried out simultaneously with the U.S. arming and training Nicaragua’s Contras, who had been members of the national guard for deposed right wing dictator Anastasio Somoza. Despite both parties antithesis towards freedom and democracy, both were dubbed “freedom fighters” by Washington. The U.S.’s “freedom fighters,” whether in Central America or Afghanistan, had a strong penchant for killing civilians, as well as raping women and girls. This has been well documented by credible sources time and again.
Meanwhile, the Taliban, simply the current evolution of the Mujahedin, views the U.S. in the same manner as their cohorts viewed the Soviets in the 80’s. In other words, it is not favorably by any stretch of the imagination. Indeed, the U.S. is seen as an enemy, which should not come as any sort of surprise under the circumstances relative to the assorted invasion results (ruin, death, devastation and so on) brought by the U.S. forces.
This in mind, it is likely the hotel bombing is a response to a number of attacks carried out by the United states and its allies over the past several weeks. The attacks in consideration took place both in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The first and most notable one took place in the Herat district of Afghanistan. On August twenty-first, a U.S. bombing killed ninety civilians of whom approximately sixty were children. The figure was confirmed by Afghan human rights groups, as well as evaluators from the UN.
All the same, the U.S. response was to basically call the Afghans and UN assessments as representing fabrications while insisting that most of the dead were Taliban with only a small number of children involved. After a couple of weeks of the U.S. basically calling the Afghans and the UN liers, the U.S. acknowledged the deaths, but still did not accept full responsibility and alleged that faulty intelligence from an Afghan with a vendetta was, ultimately, to blame.
In South Waziristan, Pakistan on September third, the first officially acknowledged attack by US forces on Pakistani soil killed twenty people, primarily women and children. At the same time, it does appear that the U.S. is determined to make Pakistan its next front in its “war on terror”. Meanwhile, large numbers of Pakistan’s 168 million people live in poverty as well as most of Afghanistan’s 33 million.
Addressing poverty, agricultural and development needs would be a more fitting undertaking than dropping bombs on civilians. It would, certainly, engender more support for the U.S. in the long run.
At the same time, the reasons, goals and methods of U.S. interactions with the rest of the World, particularly impoverished and needy areas such as Pakistan and Afghanistan, should be constantly open to analysis. Because of poverty, harsh winters and the 2005 earthquake that still is impacting certain parts of Pakistan, humanitarian endeavors should be paramount, anyway.
However, arrogance or crass self interests vis-a-vis warfare or material acquisition through thuggery all too often has appeared to be the cornerstone of capitalism, particularly the American version, historically. Moreover, a refocus towards ending hunger and poverty, as well as illiteracy in the world, are far more fitting goals then greed, power and materialism if values are to be in the mix at all. Unfortunately, all indications suggest that they don’t seem to be so. This is all too obvious and painful to acknowledge, especially when one is a citizen of the U.S. and does not ratify such actions one iota.