Originally published: https://anfenglishmobile.com/features/the-liberation-of-kabul-54196

“Who will liberate Afghanistan? After 20 years of NATO occupation, the country is likely to be back under Taliban rule for the time being,” writes Firaz Amargi.

16 Aug 2021 | Firaz Amargi


Who will liberate Afghanistan? After 20 years of NATO occupation, the country is likely to be back under Taliban rule for the time being. The social, cultural and human destruction of the last two decades and the foreseeable Taliban horror are largely commented on in the Western public with surprise and hopelessness. Yet the peoples of Afghanistan – whether in the country itself or in the diaspora – are once again urgently faced with the question of how they can free their homeland from the yoke of Western military alliances or Islamist rulers. This question affects all democratic forces in the Middle East, as Afghanistan’s cultural, social, political and geostrategic importance influences the entire region. In the PKK, discussions about the liberation of Afghanistan were held as early as the 1990s, and they have lost none of their relevance today. A look at PKK history can therefore help shape the future of Afghanistan today.

Two Sindhi Internationalists in the PKK

Starting in the 1990s, more and more internationalists joined the PKK. Many of them came with the aim of learning from the PKK’s experience in order to put them into practice in their home countries [1]. Among the hundreds, if not thousands, of these internationalist democrats – Turks, Arabs, Circassians, Azerbaijanis, Russians, Germans, Armenians and many more – were two young revolutionaries from the Sindhi [2] region who joined the ranks of the PKK in the mid-1990s. During their stay of several months at the PKK Central Academy in Damascus, they held intensive discussions with PKK Leader Abdullah Ocalan about the PKK’s struggle, the future of socialism and the situation of the various peoples of the Middle East.

Abdullah Öcalan’s Perspective for Afghanistan

In the course of a lengthy conversation with Abdullah Öcalan, one of the two Sindhi internationalists – his party name in the PKK was Mazlum – asked him for his assessment of the situation in Afghanistan at that time. The brief analysis with which Abdullah Öcalan responded encompasses key problems and possible solutions that are particularly instructive today: “First of all, we must state that there is no revolutionary ideology in Afghanistan. Najibullāh [3] was completely dependent on the Soviets.  His struggle was not based on the power of the people. His only concern was Moscow. When his relations with Moscow broke down, he himself was also overthrown. His connection with the people was very weak. Moreover, he was not ready for war. The other forces in Afghanistan are also not connected to the people. They too have depended on policies that stand outside the people. So they are not doing politics for the Afghan people. It has always been about the old tribal associations and tribes, about an old ideology. They never considered the whole Afghan people as their base. Of course, that bothered the people. The Taliban have known how to exploit that. But the Taliban’s strength is also the result of their relationships with outside forces. They will now draw support from the United States and Pakistan. They want to develop an Islamic alternative, which is entirely possible. If a revolutionary guerrilla organization had developed in Afghanistan, it would have been able to accomplish very important things. The reasons why this did not happen are really a great tragedy. If there had been a party there that followed a similar line to that of the PKK, very important things would have happened in Afghanistan. That is the main weakness. In the current way, the problems in Afghanistan will not be solved. They will only become bigger and bigger and will go on and on. Therefore, our ideology and policy is completely in favor of our people and all the peoples of the Middle East. The current situation of our people serves the other peoples. If the PKK is really represented properly, it will become a very important alternative force here. If we had had the opportunity, we would have built a group associated with the party and it might have been able to play an important role [in Afghanistan]. Now, of course, that opportunity has passed. But we must continue to work on it. Why? Because there is no other choice. His mistakes and weaknesses were the ultimate tragedy of Najibullāh. He has been in their protection for four years. There are so many shelters in Afghanistan, why did he seek shelter there [UN Center in Kabul]? That is why they are currently in this situation. They have never connected with the people of Afghanistan and never lived in Afghanistan. They have always lived in other places. Yes, this is their current situation. Of course, this is sad.”

Hope for Afghanistan

Political commentators in the West or NATO representatives may currently display perplexity and pessimism in front of the cameras of this world when asked about Afghanistan. That hopelessness is of little use to the people of Afghanistan will be clear to all politically and morally minded people. Accordingly, it is crucial today for the women, youth and peoples of Afghanistan to set about building hope for their homeland. The PKK has offered internationalists the opportunity to learn from their experiences for decades. So what Abdullah Ocalan said to the Sindhi internationalist Mazlum at the end of his conversation in 1996 still holds true: “I can really say that the experiences of the PKK are an important source of strength for them. If certain intellectuals and revolutionaries study the ideology and experiences of the PKK intensively, they can develop great strength for their respective people. In doing so, of course, they must be both patient and persistent.”

1.A book is currently being written containing numerous conversations that Abdullah Öcalan had with various internationalists in the 1990s. The book is expected to be published first in German in 2022. The quotations in this article are preliminary translations from this book.

2.  The traditional settlement area of the Sindhi people is mainly located on Pakistani territory.

3.  President of Afghanistan from 1987 to 1992. Spent several years in Soviet exile. Until his assassination by the Taliban in 1996, he spent four years in the protection of the UN in Kabul.