I am still trying to make sense of the popular uprising in Afghanistan where following another US attack that killed four civilians—of course US/NATO claims without evidence that they were “insurgents”—an estimate of 1,500 people stormed a NATO base chanting death to America and the puppet president, violently clashing with police and leaving a dozen more Afghans dead.
Afghans rally over NATO raid (Reuters)
This is significant.
But before I get to why that is I want to make a comment about our justifying the killing of these people on the grounds that the four killed in the raid were “insurgents.”
The very international law that makes our war illegal is the same law that makes the resistance legal.
Article 51 of the United Nations Charter says,
Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.
What this means is that the only justification for the use of force is if (1) you are attacked and you are using force to defend yourself, or (2) the Security Council authorizes the use of force because it is only the councils authority to “take measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.”
When the US attacked Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 we did so not in defense of an armed attack, nor had the UN Security Council authorized our invasion. The war and occupation of Afghanistan is a war of aggression. And so the armed resistance in Afghanistan is entirely legal. We have no more of a justification to be there, or kill their “insurgents,” than Russia did in the 1980s.
Now, some might point to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and say that justifies our occupation, but there are a number of problems with that argument.
First, when we attacked Afghanistan almost a month later we had no idea who was behind the attacks. In fact, several months later our own FBI Director acknowledged we only thought we knew who was behind the attacks. This means we attacked one of the poorest and most defenseless countries in the world in violation of international law without knowing who we were retaliating against.
Next, we were not defending ourselves from an armed attack. There was twenty-six days between the terrorist attacks on 9/11 and our invasion of Afghanistan on October 7, 2001. This means we would have needed the UNSC’s authorization, but we didn’t get it. The point behind the article quoted above is that if you are under attack and don’t have time to get authorization then you have the right to use force to defend yourself. We were not under attack and had plenty of time to either get authorization or to seek more legal and diplomatic means to ensure our safety.
So, here we are nearly ten years into this war of aggression where we constantly carry out aerial attacks that kill civilians—which has long been a big issue for the population and has even forced the puppet government to speak out against it too—and the people are fed up. They are tired of pushing their corrupt government to do something and they are taking matters into their own hands.
Here is another interesting point to be made: they are not doing this to the Taliban. Some might say that’s because the Taliban is more ruthless, but I don’t know about that. Clearly the Taliban is not routinely angering civilians with aerial attacks, and considering how violent and armed NATO forces are it still takes a lot of anger and guts to be fed up to the point that 1,500 people carry out their own siege on a military base of a foreign occupier. I find it hard to believe that they would do such a risky thing to us but not the Taliban. A more sensible deduction is that we are more hated and resented than the Taliban, something that should be seriously pondered.
This act may signify a dramatic turn of events in the country, one that will hopefully end the occupation sooner rather than later so that perhaps a negotiated settlement with the Taliban could be carried out.