Speed-up of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan
From the International Report delivered to the CPGB-ML’s central committee on 4 March.
Following the French announcement last month that it is withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan earlier than had previously been envisaged, the US has now also announced its early departure, ie, the ending of its ‘combat role’ by the middle of next year.
Of 90,000 US troops in Afghanistan, 22,000 are to be withdrawn by this autumn, although no schedule for the departure of the remaining 68,000 has been given. US imperialism is also proposing to scale down the Afghan puppet troops, which are costing the US and other Nato countries some $6bn a year.
Meanwhile, attempts are still continuing to find ‘reasonable’ elements of the Taliban with whom to reach a peace agreement. However, Afghanistan remains very much a country at war. Increasingly, imperialism is “privatising the ultimate sacrifice”. Last year, for the first time since the start of the Afghan campaign, more civilian contractors working for the US were killed than were US soldiers. (‘Risks of Afghan war shift from soldiers to contractors’ by Rod Nordland, New York Times, 12 February 2012)