Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/647/10620
The Socialist 17 November 2010 |
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Afghanistan: Withdraw the troops now!
Fund jobs and services, not war and weapons
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.
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".
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.
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.
- Withdraw the troops now! Spend the money on jobs and public services, not war and weapons.
- For workers' solidarity internationally to support the Afghan working people in building their own organisations and deciding their own future.
- For a socialist alternative to capitalism in Britain, Afghanistan and worldwide, to end poverty, terror and war permanently.
Demonstrate against the war
Saturday 20 November, assemble 12noon, Speakers Corner, Hyde Park, London. Called by the Stop the War Coalition