Afghanistan: What they said 10 years ago

These are just some of the claims made by British politicians in 2001 justifying the invasion of Afghanistan, pretending it was a humanitarian intervention. Given that the British government would surely have known that the US invasion only succeeded due to the alliances forged with warlords just as bad as the Taliban, and that the US government had no intention of undergoing a “nation building” project in Afghanistan, then these statements can only be regarded as deliberate deception.

Let us remind ourselves that the current Taliban insurgency did not really start until 2005, but in the four years previous, the NATO governments did almost nothing to make good these promises when they still could have done.

14 October 2001 – John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, said that Britain was determined to “win the peace” in Afghanistan through a massive aid effort and the creation of a democratic, post-Taliban government. Mr Prescott, who was in Moscow for talks on terrorism and the environment, called for the international coalition to be turned into a wider campaign against global poverty once the conflict was over.

05 October 2001 – Jack Straw sent a direct message to the people of Afghanistan promising help from the outside world once the Taliban were overthrown and Osama bin Laden faced justice. In a text broadcast on the BBC World Service, the Foreign Secretary promised generous assistance to provide schools, clinics, roads and secure livelihoods in the future. He said: “Our commitment to the Afghan people is simple and sincere. You have been ill-served by those who made your country a haven for terrorists across the world. … As soon as this stops, the world will work with you to build a better future for you and for your children.”

Peter Hain – 06 October 2001 “Let’s use this great coalition to fight world poverty. The solidarity shown to the US could promote an end to unilateralism and isolationism. The international community must work together to minimise the suffering of the Afghan people and to ensure them a peaceful, stable and free future in their country. That means helping to rebuild Afghanistan after its terrorist bases have been eliminated, not just with food aid but with development assistance for infrastructure, jobs, hospitals, schools and homes.”

Tony Blair 02 October 2001
“With every bit as much thought and planning, we will assemble a humanitarian coalition alongside the military coalition “