The Summit meeting of NATO partners and allies that was held in Chicago, US, from May 18-21, was all about how US imperialism and its allies would continue their interference and occupation of Afghanistan in different forms.
A little over a decade ago, US imperialism and its allies launched their invasion of Afghanistan. Although the excuse for the launching of this invasion was the Sept 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York, the strategic goals of the US which necessitated the invasion have long been in place. In the post-Cold War era, US imperialism has sought relentlessly to extend its hegemony over Central and South Asia. Control over Afghanistan, a strategically located country at the junction of these two regions, has been crucial to its designs.
After more than 10 years, the whole Afghanistan campaign of the US and its allies, which was carried out under the slogan of “war on terror”, is bogged down in serious difficulties, and is meeting with increasing protests around the world, including within the US and NATO countries. Despite the deployment of hundreds of thousands of troops, the NATO forces have been unable to defeat the resistance to the occupation within Afghanistan, which is growing stronger by the day. The various NATO governments are coming under increasing attack from their own people for the tremendous costs of this war in human and material terms.
Under these circumstances, the NATO allies got together in Chicago to finalise the arrangements to continue their efforts to dominate this region in other forms. US imperialism is counting on its objectives being achieved through the Karzai regime in Afghanistan, with which it has recently signed an agreement. The idea is that the US and NATO will provide "long-term political and practical support" to Afghanistan, including pumping in over $4 billion annually, while ending their direct combat role by 2014. US President Obama was very clear that there would be no end to the US interference in Afghanistan. "I don't think there's ever going to be an optimal point where we say, "This is all done”, he said in Chicago.
A significant aspect of the Chicago Summit was the growing rift with Pakistan. In the last ten years, Pakistan has been made to play a crucial role in the imperialist offensive in Afghanistan – something that is highly resented by all sections of the people of Pakistan. The anger of the people of Pakistan has led to increasing confrontation between US imperialism and the government and people of Pakistan. After the recent “accidental” bombing of an air force base in Pakistan by NATO forces, which resulted in the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers, Pakistan had refused to allow NATO supplies to Afghanistan to be transported through its territory. Far from extending an apology to Pakistan, the Obama regime instead has been putting increasing pressure on it. It delayed till the last minute inviting the Pakistan President Zardari to the Summit, and made a big show of cold-shouldering its “ally” in Chicago. This humiliating treatment was calculated to show that US imperialism had the right to do anything it wanted with impunity, and even its “allies” have no choice but to put up with it.
The mounting demand of the people of Afghanistan, Pakistan and all over the world, including in the US and other NATO countries, is that the foreign powers must get out of Afghanistan once and for all. The people of Afghanistan must be free to decide their own destiny. Plans to continue the imperialist presence in Afghanistan under different forms must and will be vigorously opposed.