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The Wall Street Journal and The Workers Vanguard Agree: Both Capitalists and Communists Conclude Afghanistan Better Off Under Soviets Than Northern Alliance

The Wall Street Journal, the leading global newspaper of business, is published by Dow Jones and Company who also operate the world's most widely followed stock-market indicator tracking the world's largest stock market. The Workers Vanguard, is a Marxist working class biweekly of the Spartacist League of the United States, which is the U. S. Section of the International Communist League. Drawing from Cold War history and the present war in Afghanistan, both have published recent articles that agree Afghanistan was better off under Soviet control than that of the Northern Alliance.

In the December 4, 2001 edition of the Journal, Alan Cullison reports from Kabul, Afghanistan on living conditions when the Soviets were there under a heading of "Soviet-Era Vision of Afghanistan Gains New Life in Ruins of Kabul Neighborhood." Cullison story leads with, "In the wrecked remnants of what was once one of Kabul's most prestigious neighborhoods, American bombs have stirred a fragile and ironic hope: the revival of a Soviet-era vision of Afghanistan whose destruction Washington used to trumpet as its greatest Cold War triumph." Cullison then quotes Siarah Parlika, one of the oldest residents of the Soviet-built Microrayon neighborhood, who said, "It used to be beautiful-there was glass in our windows and we had gardens."

Then the Cold War turned Afghanistan into a proxy battleground between Washington and Moscow and destroyed model communities like Microrayon. Mr. Cullison says, "It also trampled the first shoots of a secular political class more interested in living standards than religious dogma." The story reveals that the Soviets built swimming pools, shops, and schools to serve the complex that housed 140,000 people and that attendance at the schools was compulsory for boys and girls. It also reported that "Soviet-era Microrayon represented a vision of Afghanistan's future far more in tune with the West than the religious zealotry of the U.S.-backed mujahedeen fighters who drove the Soviets from Afghanistan in 1989."

The mujahedeen then overthrew the government left behind by the Soviets in1992 and turned Microrayan and the capitol city of Kabul into a no-man's land as they battled among themselves for spoils. The Journal reported that the apartments were occupied and looted by a succession of Northern Alliance warlords. Stray rockets hit a city power plant and Microrayan's heating plant knocking out heat, lights and running water in 1993 and thieves emptied the schools of their desks and chairs. When the Taliban took over in 1996 they abolished the study of math, geography and history and would not allow the girls to go to school. Cullison reported that now, " herds of goats root through apartment courtyards"...and, "Most of the doctors, teachers and government technocrats that were the neighborhood's original residents fled."


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Also in the December 4 edition of the Wall Street Journal, Andrew Higgins wrote from Kabul that, "Anti-Taliban troops who last month captured the key northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif have begun fighting among themselves, prompting the United Nations to evacuate international staff from the area and raising fears of a violent rift in the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance." What's new! Higgins said the fighting among the Northern Alliance threatens to "badly blemish American strategy in Afghanistan: instead of bringing peace, the defeat of the Taliban regime ignites a new round of conflict among victors." Although Kabul has been relatively peaceful, other areas under the Northern Alliance control have also experienced unrest and violence. There are three main factions or ethnic groups involved: the Tajiks, the Uzbeks and Hazaras. The Tajiks and Uzbeks are Sunni Muslims whose roots are in the two former Soviet republics of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and the Hazaras are Shiite Muslims who are supported by Iran. Higgins reported that "the potentially explosive ethnic, religious and political fissures...risk dividing Afghanistan into a jumble of warlord fiefdoms."

The Workers Vanguard of November 30, 2001 was headlined "U.S.-Backed Killers Take Kabul" and reported, "the Northern Alliance cutthroats are already displaying the internecine feuding and murderous barbarity of their four years of power in the mid-1990s." The Vanguard said the Northern Alliance was "Hailed as 'liberators' by Washington and the Western media", and "media mouth-pieces have portrayed the Northern Alliance as bearers of freedom for the Afghan masses, especially women." The Vanguard said during the four years the Northern Alliance ruled Afghanistan (1992-1996), "they killed countless civilians, perpetrated mass rapes and enslaved women in the veil," and that "The display of crocodile tears by American rulers for the enslaved women of Afghanistan is the most repulsive hypocrisy." It calls Osama bin Laden and the Taliban "Islamic fundamentalist killers unleashed by the U.S. in the 1980s against the soviet Red Army."

The Vanguard newspaper, published in New York, said, "the Soviet military presence there was one of the few truly progressive acts carried out by the Stalinist bureaucracy, which brought the only hope of emancipation for the hideously oppressed women of Afghanistan."

These ideological opposites of journalism overwhelmingly agree about the key players in the Cold War in Afghanistan, and the continuing conflict in that war-torn country. Isn't it time for the Bush administration and their pandering propagandists, a/k/a news reporters, in the major television and news organizations to begin telling the truth to the American people???

Tom Turnipseed

Tom Turnipseed

Tom Turnipseed is an attorney, writer and peace activist in Columbia, SC. His blog is

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