August 16, 2021 | CrimethInc.
An Anti-Imperial Perspective from a Veteran of the US Occupation
The speed with which the Taliban have recaptured Afghanistan ahead of the United States pullout illustrates how fragile the hegemony of the US empire is: how much force it takes to maintain it and how quickly everything can change when that force is withdrawn. It offers a glimpse into a possible post-imperial future—though hardly a promising one. How did the occupation impact the people of Afghanistan? Why were the Taliban able to regain so much territory so quickly? What do the US withdrawal and its consequences tell us about the future and how we might prepare for it?
The War on Terror, like the Cold War before it, has forced whole populations to choose between mutually undesirable binaries, making it difficult to imagine any alternative to the choice between global capitalist empires and homegrown authoritarianism. In the long run, whatever it promises, colonial militarism can’t control nationalism, fascism, or fundamentalism—it only gives them a justification to recruit. The question is how to nurture global grassroots networks that could create a real alternative.
In the following analysis, a veteran of the US occupation of Afghanistan discusses this defeat for the US imperial project—framing the Taliban, the occupation, and its consequences in the context of a worldwide wave of fascism and fundamentalism that is also gaining ground in the United States.