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Newest Thoughts on Afghanistan with Noam Chomsky

Updated: Apr 29

Newest Thoughts on Afghanistan with Noam Chomsky

"Noam Chomsky is sometimes referred to as “the father of modern linguistics”, is a political activist, cognitive scientist, linguist, and philosopher who currently holds joint appointments at MIT and UofA. He is the author of over 100 books and generally considered one of the greatest living public intellectuals as well as being one of the most cited scholars in history. His most recent book, Yugoslavia: Peace, War, and Dissolution is a collection of his previously published essays on that country. In the book, Chomsky reflects on the way international politics has affected Yugoslavia over the past 25 years and what it means for the global socio-economic landscape." from video introduction.

"The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001 was criminal. It was criminal because of the immense force used to demolish Afghanistan’s physical infrastructure and to break open its social bonds.

On October 11, 2001, journalist Anatol Lieven interviewed the Afghan leader Abdul Haq in Peshawar, Pakistan. Haq, who led part of the resistance against the Taliban, was getting ready to return to Afghanistan under the cover of the U.S. aerial bombardments. He was, however, not pleased with the way the United States had decided to prosecute the war. “Military action by itself in the present circumstances is only making things more difficult—especially if this war goes on a long time and many civilians are killed,” Abdul Haq told Lieven. The war would go on for 20 years, and at least 71,344 civilians would lose their lives during this period.

Abdul Haq told Lieven that “the best thing would be for the U.S. to work for a united political solution involving all the Afghan groups. Otherwise, there will be an encouragement of deep divisions between different groups, backed by different countries and badly affecting the whole region.” These are prescient words, but Haq knew no one was listening to him. “Probably,” he told Lieven, “the U.S. has already made up its mind what to do, and any recommendations by me will be too late.”

After 20 years of the incredible destruction caused by this war, and after inflaming animosity between “all the Afghan groups,” the United States has returned to the exact policy prescription of Abdul Haq: political dialogue.

Abdul Haq returned to Afghanistan and was killed by the Taliban on October 26, 2001. His advice is now out-of-date. In September 2001, the various protagonists in Afghanistan—including the Taliban—were ready to talk. They did so partly because they feared that the looming U.S. warplanes would open the doors to hell for Afghanistan. Now, 20 years later, the gulf between the Taliban and the others has widened. Appetite for negotiations simply does not exist any longer..." from the article: Chomsky and Prashad: The reality behind the US ‘withdrawal’ from Afghanistan Noam Chomsky with Vijay Prashad May 7, 2021.

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