Lahore, 29th August 2021 – The Awami Workers Party (AWP) has called on progressive forces in Pakistan and the wider region to close ranks in the face of the re-conquest of Afghanistan by the Taliban. Only by building a broad-based united front of progressives can the barbarity of violence that has enveloped the region under the guise of the US-led ‘war on terror’ and right-wing populism and militancy. In a statement issued by AWP’s federal leadership at the conclusion of the party’s Federal Executive Committee meeting in Lahore chaired by AWP president Yusuf Masti Khan and founding party president Abid Hasan Minto, the party expressed complete solidarity with the long-suffering people of Afghanistan, called for the protection of their lives and social, economic and political rights and resolved to continue resisting all forms of imperialism and fascism in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the region at large.
AWP believes that the resurgence of the militant right-wing in neighbouring Afghanistan is primarily the fault of American-led occupying forces, which occupied, brutalized and badly divided an already war-torn society for years and continually strengthened the Taliban through its own misguided war policies, before undertaking an irresponsible and chaotic withdrawal, ultimately handing over power and billions in advanced weaponry to the very groups it claimed to be there to fight, with little regard for the welfare of the Afghan women and men being left behind. There must be global recognition of, resistance to and accountability for the global destruction and social regression caused by such reckless imperialist warfare.
Meanwhile Pakistan’s own military establishment, which has always patronized the Afghan Taliban, continues to weaponize religion as a political tool, the result of which is a further weakening of Pakistan’s already feeble democracy, the rise of reactionary forces, and an explosion of patriarchal violence within Pakistani society. AWP believes such actions undermine and endanger Pakistani society and that progressives representing traditions of class struggle, feminist organizing and anti-imperialist ethnic-nationalism must work together in the struggle for a lasting peace in the region.
Imperialist wars are never about the welfare of ordinary people, or the elimination of terrorism or religious militancy, but about the strategic interests of powerful states and the profits of the companies, contractors and institutions that benefit from the war economy. Even after the US troop withdrawal, it is more than likely that it will, alongside other regional powers including China, Russia, Pakistan, Iran, India, and Saudi Arabia, continue to engage in strategic maneuvering, which is why it is essential for progressives in Pakistan and the region to come together to pressure our states to commit to a genuine and lasting peace in Afghanistan that protects people’s rights and prevents further violence.
The Taliban in Pakistan are already regrouping in the ex FATA districts on the Afghan border, and it is clear that they will target progressive forces as well as wider Pakistani society, as in the past. Alongside the Pashtun regions, all of Pakistan’s ethnic peripheries face further brutalization as a New Great Game looks set to play out in the region in the face of the intensifying geopolitical rivalries both between regional players and global powers like China and the US. In this context, it is essential that ethnic tensions within Pakistan are not exacerbated due to the influx of Afghan refugees, particularly in Sindh. The party therefore demands that the politics of hate and resentment be contained through the sharing of responsibility for hosting refugees according to established principles for refugee protection that encompass their eventual repatriation.
The AWP believes that only through political struggle under a programme of pro-people development and radical social and economic redistribution – of land, other natural resources, and in the interests of labour vis a vis multinational and speculative capital – can the violent right-wing be displaced and the war economy replaced in Pakistan, Afghanistan and the region at large. The party is committed to restoring and strengthening trade and student unions across the country, resisting anti-worker policies, fighting rising dispossession, and ending the country’s dependence on the IMF and other aid agencies.
AWP calls on feminist, student, and ethnic-national movements to make common cause with organized labour and progressives engaged in class struggle. It is only through progressive unity and disciplined self-organization that fascist forces can be pushed back in the region and Pakistan’s national security state can be transformed into a genuine people’s democracy that priorities the needs of long-suffering working classes, all its religious and ethnic populations, and initiates a programme of productive, equal and sustainable development with a non-aligned foreign policy that privileges a dignified peace with neighboring countries, including Afghanistan and India.
AWP Federal Executive Committee