EIR LEAD EDITORIAL FOR SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2021
Afghanistan Can’t Breathe!
Sept. 10, 2021 (EIRNS)—The imperial establishment of the U.S./NATO/trans-Atlantic created a murderous bloodbath in Afghanistan, killing tens or hundreds of thousands, wasting trillions of dollars, destabilizing the region, and having less than nothing to show for it 20 years later.
And, now, that establishment is taking out its rage on the people of Afghanistan, choking their fragile economy by withholding—either directly or through financial means—the food, fuel, electricity, and development the nation so desperately needs. The people of these trans-Atlantic powers are tolerating the denial of development assistance or even cooperation with Afghanistan, with the demand that a government more to the liking of that elite comes to power.
But what 20 years of military might could not achieve, will also not be brought about by financial force.
Afghanistan will have a government through the decisions and actions of its own people, and the capable nations of the world—particularly those who created its current calamity—bear a responsibility to assist that government in bringing Afghanistan into a peaceful, productive, and proud role in the region and the world.
The UN Development Program released a 17-page report that details the current suffering in Afghanistan and how trans-Atlantic institutions are poised to make it much worse. External aid accounts for three-quarters of the Afghanistan budget. How will schools, hospitals, or infrastructure be funded, if it is cut off? The entire country has only 600 MW of installed generating capacity—less than 1% the per-capita level of the United States. Ten million children require humanitarian assistance to survive, with 1 million projected to suffer from acute severe malnutrition. Over 4 million school-age children are out of school. At present, 72% of Afghans live below the poverty level of $2/day. UN modeling suggests that that figure could increase by 25%, to create the specter of “near universal poverty.”
Against this backdrop, the Biden administration continues to freeze the assets of Afghanistan’s central bank—over $9 billion. An IMF allocation of $450 million worth of SDRs is out of reach thanks to the Fed shutting off dollar access. The World Bank has also suspended financial support.
This is murder, and it must be stopped!
On May 12, 1996, Madeleine Albright was asked by a CBS interviewer about the tremendous cost of the Gulf War against Iraq, including that more than 500,000 Iraqi children under the age of 5 had died as a result of the sanctions. Albright, unfazed, responded that the price of those deaths were “worth it.” Worth what?
Biden must immediately take his knee off of Afghanistan’s throat, unfreeze the nation’s assets, and play a positive role in its development. Despite the past 20 years, the Taliban has said it is open to U.S. cooperation.
The solution is clear. It was laid out at the July 31 Schiller Institute conference “Afghanistan: A Turning Point in History After the Failed Regime-Change Era.” Start the development process now. To achieve this, Schiller Institute Founder Helga Zepp-LaRouche has called for putting to immediate use the experience and talents of Pino Arlacchi, former Executive Director of the UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention, who made a powerful intervention at that conference.
We do no honor to the American victims of 9/11 by adding piles of additional deaths across the world. May this 20th anniversary of that disaster mark the end of two decades of disastrous policy. Let Afghanistan breathe!