KABUL CONFERENCE SHOWS THE WAR AT AN IMPASSE
The Kabul conference discussing the war in Afghanistan has only served to
demonstrate the impasse which the war has now reached. Even the US
administration has conceded that talks with the Taliban – so far resisted by
Obama – are going to happen. The recognition that the war is losing contradicts the statements, still reiterated by foreign secretary William Hague, that there is a gradual improvement in the situation in Afghanistan.
The much-touted date for withdrawal in 2014 shows the desperation of the Nato governments, faced with defeat in Afghanistan and growing unpopularity of the war domestically. The fact that they are talking about a withdrawal date reflects the growing costs of the war, in human life and in billions of dollars. The death rate of British soldiers now stands at similar levels to those of Russian soldiers just before their withdrawal 20 years ago. The death rate of Afghans has increased over the past year. The Afghan army, supposedly being trained to take over the war from the Nato forces, has a 25% desertion rate.
But the conference today answers nothing. Why is fighting continuing in Helmand and the south when a likely outcome of negotiations to end the war will be to hand over that area to the Taliban? How can western governments claim the war is about human rights when it backs a government ranking among the most corrupt in the world? Why are these same governments ignoring public opinion, which is for rapid withdrawal of troops and an end to the war?
The role of the British government in this war has been shameful, from John Reid’s claim four years ago that the troops might be able to leave Helmand without a shot being fired in anger, to Hague’s current increasingly desperate justifications for the war.
How many more people will die before the proposed withdrawal date? How many billions will be spent on an unjustifiable war while the welfare state is
slashed by the Coalition government. And which government minister will have to tell the families of the dead what exactly they were fighting for?
We are asking all our supporters to redouble their efforts campaigning to bring the troops home. Now is a moment when the movement can really make a difference. Our timetable for withdrawal starts now, with campaigning in every locality, involving military families, trade unions, school students and students, faith groups and anti war campaigners. We are aiming for a big national demonstration to coincide with the next Nato summit on November 20th saying it’s time to go –bring the troops home.
Please start spreading the word about the demonstration – leaflets will be
available on Monday and get in touch with your local group or check the website for local activities.
‘AFGHANISTAN: TIME TO GO’.
PUBLIC MEETING MONDAY 26TH JULY
7pm, Monday, 26th July
25 Red Lion Square
London, WC1R 4RL
Joe Glenton, jailed for refusing to fight in Afghanistan, speaks out against
the war. With Caroline Lucas, Jeremy Corbyn and Mark Steel.
The war in Afghanistan is in crisis. The strategy is crumbling, with Obama’s
sacking of General McChrystal and an increasingly corrupt Karzai government. The violence is intensifying with No clear goals and even fewer results. Thousands of Afghan civilians are dying every year and very little rebuilding is being done. Despite the 77% of people being opposed to Britain’s involvement in Afghanistan, this government continues to send troops to kill and die in a war that is being lost.