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From The Socialist newspaper, 4 August 2010

Afghanistan:

Troops out now!

THE LEAKING of 75,000 secret US military documents on the Afghanistan war 'endangers lives', screamed the US Pentagon.

British foreign secretary William Hague complained that the leaked documents could "poison the atmosphere in Afghanistan".

Judy Beishon

This highly hypocritical talk has come from representatives of governments that have been inflicting carnage on Afghan towns and villages, using the latest high-tech deadly weaponry, without even bothering to count the civilian casualties - likely to number tens of thousands.

These governments have also been presiding over the deaths of US, British and other coalition troops every week.

Nearly 2,000 foreign troops have died in Afghanistan over the last nine years.

The leaked reports have made a huge impact, as they are sweeping in their scope and reflect the divisions and despair existing within the US state machine.

As the media pointed out, they contain nothing substantially surprising or new. They are 'low level' intelligence reports rather than being policy documents from the top military officials, as the leaked Pentagon Papers were in 1971, and some of the content is unreliable.

But being able to read these reports in their uncensored state has shed more light on the horror of the war, particularly on the incidences of slaughter of Afghan children and adult civilians - much of which was kept secret.

This information was brought home forcefully as it came just shortly after news of the killing of over 50 civilians by a Nato rocket in Helmand on 23 July.

It is no surprise that these atrocities are driving more and more Afghan youth into fighting alongside the Taliban and are leading the occupying forces further into a quagmire.

Nearly twice as many UK troops have now died in Afghanistan as died in Iraq. At the present death rate, 2010 will be the worst year for coalition troop deaths in Afghanistan. The US plan of ousting the Taliban from areas it controls and handing these areas over to newly trained Afghan forces is not succeeding.

And ongoing terror is being inflicted on the populations of towns and villages in the process. Military operation after operation, with altered tactics each time, have only led further down the pathway of failure and bloodshed.

From increased air power, to more troops on the ground; from 'winning' hearts and minds, to destroying them.

When the Taliban are cleared from one area, they can regroup elsewhere and later return, with many of their forces being drawn from the communities that the commanders of the occupying troops claim to be defending.

The British troops should be brought home immediately and all other foreign troops removed from Afghanistan too.

Then the Afghan people can begin to determine their own future. In particular, the task of building independent organisations of workers and the poor is urgent. Such bodies can act to stop future bloodshed and prepare the way for a socialist society with democratic rights and decent living standards for everyone.

  • Build a mass movement in Britain to bring home the troops! Spend government money on jobs and public services not on war and weapons.
  • Let the Afghan people decide their own future. For democratic rights in Afghanistan, and the building of independent organisations of workers and the poor.
  • For a socialist world, free from terror, exploitation and war.
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    In The Socialist 4 August 2010:

    We need 'biggest movement since poll tax'


    Anti-cuts campaign

    'Radical' cuts require serious action

    Waltham Forest's Labour council faces opposition

    Coventry campaigners fight cuts of 140 million

    Swansea trades council leads battle for services

    Campaigners answer Bristol's 'Big Conversation'

    Cuts news: Mental health services facing the axe

    NSSN pledged to fight cuts


    War and occupation

    Troops out now!

    Afghanistan: US strategy in disarray


    Accademies

    Oppose divisive academies policy


    Workplace news and analysis

    Talks resume at British Airways

    Angry workers strike over pay freeze and bosses' bonuses

    Fighting fire service cuts

    Witch-hunted Unison activist wins tribunal


    Workplace Debate

    Unite general secretary election


    Youth fight for jobs

    We won't be a lost generation, fight for jobs and education!

    No to privatisation of our universities

    For real jobs, not slave labour


    Environment and socialism

    Profiting from wrecking the environment

    Stop the Cardiff incinerator

    Save Wanstead Flats


    Tamil Solidarity

    Daily Mail admits guilt over smearing Tamil hunger striker


    Socialist Party LGBT

    Campaigning at Leeds Pride


    Socialist Party events

    Book now for the summer camp!

    Socialism 2010 - a weekend of discussion and debate


    International socialist news and analysis

    Love Parade catastrophe was entirely preventable

    Garment workers demand a living wage


    Socialist Party news and analysis

    Asda profiting from low pay

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    Rich just carry on getting richer

    Fast news


    Review & Comment

    The howlers' world and ours

    How the banks rip us off


     

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