Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

In Afghanistan, Biden Continues an Endless War

Biden has shown a refusal to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan. It’s a reminder that only the working class can end the “forever wars.”

Sam Carliner

April 7, 2021
Facebook Twitter Share
Mark Humphrey/AP

For a moment, it looked like the war in Afghanistan — America’s longest war — would end before its 20th anniversary in October of this year. That still could happen, but the Biden administration has recently cast doubt that it has any genuine commitment to withdrawing under the deal the Trump administration made with the Taliban to remove all U.S. troops from the country by May 1. This should serve as a reminder that only a working-class anti-war movement can effectively challenge U.S. imperialism.

This news comes from a recent New York Times article. While the Times reports no official decision to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan, it suggests that officials are swaying Biden by citing an intelligence report that suggests the Taliban will take over Afghanistan the U.S. military remains in the country.

The Taliban (and the group’s support for al-Qaeda) was the original reason given to justify the war in the first place, not long after the 9/11 attacks on the United States. An investigative report by the Washington Post shows that U.S. officials never developed an exit strategy for Afghanistan, and instead spent the course of the war lying to the world with repeated claims of being closer and closer to “winning” without having ever made any real progress. There is no reason to believe anything will be different under Biden.

Whatever the outcome of the United States. leaving Afghanistan, there is no question that staying just means more death and suffering for the Afghan people. A report by the Costs of War project shows that 310,000 civilians have been killed by reckless combat and drone bombings that the United States has wrought since it first invaded the country in 2001. This does not account for the lives lost to elevated rates of disease due to lack of clean drinking water, malnutrition, and reduced access to healthcare — all conditions that existed in Afghanistan before the war but that have been severely exacerbated by the U.S. destruction of the country.

The Biden administration continues to push that keeping the Taliban from taking control of Afghanistan is to protect women’s rights. No one should believe this as a reason for the United States to extend an imperialist operation. If women’s rights were truly the Biden administration’s concern, then they would not be sycophants for the regime in Saudi Arabia — one of the world’s worst perpetrators of misogynistic violence.

In fact, one of the most prominent voices for women’s liberation in Afghanistan, Malalai Joya, has expressly criticized the U.S. military presence as prolonging the abuse of women in Afghanistan. In a 2013 interview with The Nation, she explains, “The U.S. and NATO presence is making the struggle for justice and peace much harder because they empower these reactionary terrorists, who are great obstacles for true democratic-minded elements in my country.”

U.S. imperialism has never been about supporting women or bringing freedom or any other idealist claims administrations use to justify their violent military incursions and occupations. U.S. imperialism is all about capitalism’s need to maintain itself through control of foreign markets and resources. As U.S. capital faces greater challenges to its declining global hegemony, most notably from China, it will continue to hold desperately to as much influence as it possibly can by maintaining its existing occupations and seeking new areas to wage war.

This past Monday, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R–Ill.) said the quiet part out loud. At an event hosted by The Hill, the House Foreign Affairs Committee member stated that the United States should stay in Afghanistan to keep China from accessing the country’s mineral wealth.

Kinzinger’s perspective is the rule, not the exception, in the U.S. government. There is bipartisan support for a great power competition between the United States and China, and Biden’s secretary of state Antony Blinken and foreign policy advisor Jake Sullivan are particularly hawkish when it comes to China.

Defense contractors are also likely influencing Biden’s decision. The Department of Defense has already offered close to $1 billion in contracts to 17 different companies to supply arms and wage war in Afghanistan past the withdrawal date. These companies, some of which have contracts that extend into 2023, have grounds to sue the U.S. government if Biden withdraws from Afghanistan before the contracts end.

It is hard to know for sure which specific sectors of capital will play the biggest role in convincing Biden to stay in Afghanistan. However, it is abundantly clear that absent pushback from the working class, the United States will continue its imperialist operation in Afghanistan as long as capital has profits to gain from prolonging the war, which has already cost $2 trillion, injured or killed tens of thousands of Afghans, and killed 3,500 American troops — who enlisted mostly from Black, brown, and poor white communities as part of the poverty draft.

The war in Afghanistan is a tragic reminder of the worst extremes of capitalist violence. It is not too late to turn it into a reminder of the power the working class has to oppose imperialism. Through connecting our struggles as workers in the heart of the empire with those of workers subjected to U.S. imperialism in semi-colonies, and through militant organizing against the capitalist interests that drive imperialism, the working class of the United States can bring an end to the war in Afghanistan. We must because Biden certainly will not.

Facebook Twitter Share

Sam Carliner

Sam Carliner is a socialist with a background in journalism. He mainly writes for Left Voice about US imperialism. He also tweets about imperialism as @saminthecan.

United States

A young couple with their baby in front of the Capitol

Refugees Are Being Stranded in NYC – Both Parties Are to Blame

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has been sending buses of refugees to New York City. As the refugee crisis worsens, the Left in the United States needs a clear strategy for solidarity.

Sam Carliner

August 15, 2022
Demonstrators chant in front of the White House during a climate march on October 12, 2021.

Democrats’ ‘Climate Bill’ Puts Polluters before People and the Planet

Congressional Democrats, supported by President Biden, just passed a major spending bill focused on climate change, health care, and taxes. But it’s no win for the climate or the working class.

Robert Belano

August 13, 2022

Our Movement Is the Cure: Fighting for Healthcare Means Fighting for Socialism

On July 30 activists marched and rallied in Washington, DC, calling for a more humane healthcare system. Physician and Left Voice member Mike Pappas spoke at the rally about how capitalism and health aren’t compatible. Below is the text from his speech.

Mike Pappas

August 2, 2022

Michigan Court of Appeals Gives County Prosecutors Right to Enforce Abortion Ban

Today a Michigan Court ruled that prosecutors in counties across the state have the authority to enforce a 1931 law that prohibits almost all forms of abortion.

Tristan Taylor

August 1, 2022


Two Turkish military members stand in front of a tank with the Turkish flag in the foreground and another tank with military members is visible in the background.

Turkey’s Dirty War Rages in Kurdistan

Since the beginning of the year, Turkey has been waging a dirty war against Kurdistan, terrorizing the civilian population with chemical weapons and drone strikes. What’s behind the action, and how is Germany aiding the onslaught?

Tom Krüger

August 14, 2022
A black and white photograph of Paulo Freire.

A Critique of ‘Pedagogy of the Oppressed’

Recently a debate has been taking place inside the recently formed Revolutionary Socialist Organizing Project (RSOP), which centers around revolutionary organization, what methods are needed to politically develop the revolutionary vanguard and the broader working-class and oppressed masses, and other issues.

Kendall Gregory

August 14, 2022

Dictating Rules from Below: The Re-Emergence of Workers’ Councils in Iran

Gianni Del Panta interviews Ida Nikou, a doctoral candidate in sociology at Stony Brook State University in New York. Her dissertation focuses on the labor movement in Iran and how the neoliberal turn has impacted workers' rights and living conditions.

Gianni Del Panta

August 12, 2022

Starbucks Fires Joselyn Chuquillanqui in Retaliation for Union Organizing

Joselyn Chuquillanqui was fired after working at Starbucks for almost 7 years. She is just one of over 70 workers fired for organizing around the country as the company ramps up its union busting.

Luigi Morris

August 12, 2022