15 Feb 2011

Afghanistan: renewed calls for withdrawl

On Saturday the Guardian carried the letter below regarding Afghanistan with an email action that I've already taken. War on Want have released a disturbing report here. The current war in Afghanistan has now entered its 10th year - longer than both the First World War and Second World War combined.

This report outlines the impact of the war on the Afghan people, whose country has been devastated by decades of warfare and foreign interference, and calls for the immediate withdrawal of NATO troops. It also looks at some of the motives for Britain being involved like the strategic importance, the credibility of NATO and the natural gas pipeline.
“One of our goals is to stabilise Afghanistan... so that energy can flow to the south”. US Assistant Secretary of State, Richard Boucher 2007
Civillian deaths continue to mount - over 8,000 in last 5 years - 3 million Afghans are refugees or internally misplaced. Afghan assets are privatised and much of the so-called 'aid' arriving is spent on security. In 2009, the Afghan government reported that security spending by the Defence and Interior ministries accounted for fully 47% of the country’s core operating budget. Indeed the whole country is increasingly militarised - one of the most militarised on earth - worse still are all the private security companies - in May last year Britain's commander in southern Afghanistan, Major General Nick Carter, said that private security companies in Afghanistan operated in a “culture of impunity”, and admitted there was no system of registering guns or vehicles.

Letter to The Guardian which calls on supporters to email War on Want

Sixty years ago today, this newspaper carried a letter from the publisher Victor Gollancz (reproduced in full here) calling for people to join him in an urgent campaign against world poverty and militarism. Britain was fighting an unwinnable war in Asia, the Korean war, and Gollancz asked all who agreed with his call for a negotiated settlement to end the conflict to send him a postcard marked with the single word "yes". Within a month 10,000 people had responded, and War on Want was born.

Today Britain is mired in another unwinnable war in Asia, this time in Afghanistan. As detailed in the new report launched by War on Want this morning, the Afghan people are paying a terrible price for the ongoing occupation of their country. The surge in military activity has led not to more security but to greater insecurity, both in Afghanistan itself and in neighbouring Pakistan. Opinion polls consistently show over 70% of British people now support the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, either "immediately" or "soon".

We believe the ongoing occupation of Afghanistan is against the interests of the Afghan people. We call for the immediate withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan, and a negotiated settlement which guarantees self-determination, security and human rights for the Afghan people. If you agree, please join us by emailing "yes" to yes(at)waronwant.org [replace (at) with @].

John Hilary Executive director, War on Want
Malalai Joya Afghan politician
Len McCluskey General secretary, Unite
Dave Prentis General secretary, Unison
Sally Hunt General secretary, University and College Union
Jeremy Dear General secretary, National Union of Journalists
Mark Serwotka General secretary, Public and Commercial Services Union
Billy Hayes General secretary, Communication Workers Union
Bob Crow General secretary, Rail Maritime and Transport Union
Michael Mansfield QC
Tony Benn
Marsha Singh MP
Jeremy Corbyn MP
Mike Hancock MP
Caroline Lucas MP
Martin Caton MP
John McDonnell MP
Elfyn Llwyd MP
Paul Flynn MP
Moazzam Begg Director, Cageprisoners
Salma Yaqoob Birmingham city councillor
Lindsey German Convenor, Stop the War Coalition
Phil Shiner Public Interest Lawyers
Ken Loach
Victoria Brittain
Bruce Kent

1 comment:

Philip Booth said...

Mark Curtis - "25 times as many Afghans die every year from poor nutrition and poverty as from the war; yet Britain has spent 10 times more on military operations than on development (for the US, it is 20 times as much)."