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From The Socialist newspaper, 17 November 2010

Afghanistan: Withdraw the troops now!

Fund jobs and services, not war and weapons

Demonstrating against war in Afghanistan, photo A Hill

Demonstrating against war in Afghanistan, photo A Hill

The Nato onslaught on Afghanistan is now in its tenth year. Ten years of horrific brutality inflicted on those who have fought against the invasion and on many thousands of civilians in the areas under attack.

Judy Beishon

Last month the Times quoted a western official as chillingly boasting: "Even should the Taliban suddenly make loud noises like 'we've had enough', the US would say 'we haven't given you enough yet'. They're getting hit by technology they've never seen before."

Yet, far from defeating the Taliban and Al-Qa'ida with this massive fire power, British foreign secretary William Hague recently warned that British troops face increased levels of violence. In 2010 so far there has been a record number of Nato troop deaths in Afghanistan; this loss of life is set to continue for as long as the imperialist-driven bloodbath goes on.

Hague justifies another four years of British military intervention by saying that Nato is helping to liberate the people of Afghanistan, "and with the important goal of maintaining our own security".

Peventing terrorism?

Cindy Sheehan, US anti-war activist, spoke at Socialism 2010

Cindy Sheehan, US anti-war activist, spoke at Socialism 2010   (Click to enlarge)

The idea that the war will prevent global terrorism is repeatedly being exposed as fanciful. Even the new head of Britain's armed forces, General Richards, admitted last week that Al-Qa'ida cannot be defeated by military power.

In any case, most of Nato's might is aimed at the Taliban militias, that one British officer has described as "very local to their communities ... 75% or so, maybe even higher, are fighting on the basis of a local sense of grievance, injustice, alienation". Recognising the blind alley of their war, the current strategy of the US-led coalition involves, on the one hand, trying to entice the Taliban rank-and-file to give up fighting with promises of jobs and cash, while on the other carrying out brutal night-time bombardments against them.

Liberation?

Helping to liberate the Afghan people? Much as most Afghan people do not want to live under another reactionary Taliban regime, neither do they want the so-called 'liberation' by Nato that is destroying lives, security and infrastructure. Nor do they support the weak and corrupt US-enforced government of Hamid Karzai that cannot kick Nato out or end the widespread poverty and lack of basic services.

The billions of dollars and pounds being spent on this war are not benefiting ordinary people, whether they are in Afghanistan, the US, Britain or elsewhere. The troops should be brought home immediately and the money spent on jobs and services rather than destruction.

As well as building anti-war movements in Britain and the US that can secure the withdrawal of the troops, workers' organisations internationally can offer help in the form that the Afghan working people and poor really need. That would be workers' solidarity and support to help the Afghan people fully liberate themselves, through organising democratically against the corrupt, self-enriching Afghan elites.


Demonstrate against the war

Saturday 20 November, assemble 12noon, Speakers Corner, Hyde Park, London. Called by the Stop the War Coalition

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In The Socialist 17 November 2010:


Socialist Party youth and students

Fight for your future!

Massive student demo shows anti-cuts anger

24 November - Strike against fees and cuts

Defend student protesters!

10 November demonstration: Students fighting back


War and occupation

Afghanistan: Withdraw the troops now!


Socialist Party workplace news

Kirklees - fighting 400 million budget cut

Protests and meetings against the cuts

Victory in law centre battle

Jobs threat in Knowsley

Ballot cancelled in BA dispute

National Shop Stewards Network: Anti-cuts conference

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party news and analysis

Universal Credit - a thinly veiled attack on the sick and unemployed

Coalition turns back the clock on justice

Tories promote fast food nation

Fast news


Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition launches its campaign for the 2011 local elections


International socialist news and analysis

Ireland: 'Not simply a crisis but an absolute disaster'

Ireland: United Left Alliance to challenge at next general election

Support the Laura Ashley strikers


Socialist Party review

Britain's trillion pound horror story


 

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