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From The Socialist newspaper, 11 November 2009

End the war in Afghanistan: Bring the troops back now!

Anti-war demonstration October 2009, photo Alison Hill

Anti-war demonstration October 2009, photo Alison Hill   (Click to enlarge)

THE WAR in Afghanistan is bringing more and more bloodshed. About 1,500 Afghan civilians were killed between January and August this year and the numbers are still rising. The 110,000 Nato-led troops sent by Western governments to Afghanistan also face growing numbers of deaths and injuries.

Roger Shrives

Two more British soldiers were killed on 7 and 8 November, bringing the number of British troops killed there to 232 since the war started in 2001. According to a new poll, two-thirds of people in Britain now believe that the conflict is unwinnable.

America's ruling class is acutely aware of people's fears of the war escalating like that in Vietnam in the 1960s. The US is thought to have lost more troops in Afghanistan than in its first nine years of involvement in Vietnam.

Nonetheless US President Obama, who has been trying to put off a decision, may now be on the verge of committing up to 40,000 more US troops. The US ruling class will also try to persuade other Nato members to increase their forces.

However, Afghanistan is politically less stable than ever. There was widespread fraud in the elections in August but Hamid Karzai, whose regime is widely despised in the country for its corruption, has nonetheless been appointed president.

Anti-war demonstration Seotember 05, photo Alison Hill

Anti-war demonstration Seotember 05, photo Alison Hill   (Click to enlarge)

Much of the country outside Kabul is under the control of reactionary regional warlords and tribal chiefs. The equally reactionary and repressive Taliban forces are recruiting freely, mainly from Afghans who oppose the occupation and the government's corrupt policies.

The Socialist Party has always warned that the war in Afghanistan will not defeat terrorism; its main aim is to bolster the power and prestige of Western imperialist states, particularly the US, and the profits of their capitalists.

US energy giant ExxonMobil has gained from the invasion of Iraq, having been given a free hand to exploit 80% of one of the world's biggest untapped oil reserves near Basra.

In Afghanistan, too, capitalist governments will give far higher priority to defending profits, prestige and power than to meeting the people's needs. This war is being fought for the interests of the rich not for Afghanistan's working class and poor.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are thought to have already cost the USA more than any war in history apart from world war two. However, the rising death toll and spiralling cost is making people ask how this war can be ended. If Obama, dutifully followed by Gordon Brown, decides to escalate the war even further, the anti-war movement should call massive protests with clear demands to end the conflict.

The Socialist Party says:


See also 'Afghanistan: an inescapable quagmire' on www.socialistworld.net

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In The Socialist 11 November 2009:

Fight for real jobs and free education


War and occupation

End the war in Afghanistan: Bring the troops back now!


Socialism 2009

Socialism 2009: An excellent weekend!


Postal workers strike

Postal workers force management back


Defend the four campaign

Unison witch-hunt: Defend the Four campaign gets a boost


Campaign for a New Workers Party

RMT conference on political representation


International socialist news and analysis

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Ireland: 90,000 march against government cuts

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