Pull out of Afghanistan now!!!

Posted in Columns and Letters

We were quite surprised to read a recent editorial in this newspaper entitled ‘Turning the tide against the Taliban’, which we found to be extremely ill informed in its seeming support for the continuation of a war that is not going to end. This war is not about the Taliban anymore because ‘Taliban’ is now is an umbrella term for every Afghan who opposes the presence of foreign troops in their country.

It is the right of every civilian of any country to oppose and fight against an invasion or an occupation, which is what the situation in Afghanistan is today. Thousands of innocent men, women and children have been killed in this occupation directed by Nato and the United States. The suffering of one innocent civilian, a taxi driver named Dilawar, has been highlighted in an award-winning documentary, Taxi to the Dark Side.
The righteous position here is surely to oppose this ongoing war, demand a complete withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan and put an end to the bloodshed. But maybe you don’t agree with us. So let’s look at the facts:
Democracy: Western governments and commentators would have us believe that Afghanistan is now a flourishing democracy. But America may soon have 100,000 troops in the country. Moreover, the US-backed Hamid Karzai is leading what’s considered to be one of the most corrupt governments on earth. That’s not what we call democracy.
Poverty: There is endemic poverty in Afghanistan, which ranks 174th out of 178 countries on the Human Development Index. Infant mortality is shockingly high: 142 babies out of every 1,000 die before reaching their first birthday, while a woman dies in pregnancy every 30 minutes. Just 23 per cent of the total population have access to safe drinking water, and only 24 per cent of people above the age of 15 can read and write. More than half of the population earns less than $2 a day.
Drugs: In December 2009, Viktor Ivanov of Russia’s anti-narcotics federal agency said that “60 per cent of all opiates in the world are produced in the area [in Afghanistan] that the British forces are responsible for. There were 25 hectares of opium in 2004. Now there are 90,000. This shows you how effective they are.” Drug addiction and smuggling are growing problems in the whole central Asian region.
Underdevelopment: To date, half of the Afghan capital Kabul lies in ruins, thousands are unemployed, many still live in tents, children go hungry, schools are overcrowded and hospitals dirty, women beg in the streets and turn to prostitution, and children are kidnapped and sold into slavery or murdered, allegedly for their organs. Since 2001 US military spending amounts to $100m a day, while only $7m goes to development, and 40 per cent of that is lost to administrative costs. Less than five per cent of what’s left goes to agricultural development, yet 80 per cent of the population relies on agriculture for their livelihood.
Those are the facts, and they speak louder than rhetoric. It is high time that people in the west speaks out against the Afghan war, like they spoke out against the Iraqi invasion. Otherwise, history will record the western intervention in Afghanistan to have been as brutal and barbaric as the invasion by the Soviet Union – and we all know where that led.

One Comment

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    The phrase “That’s not what we call democracy” was never included in our submission to the newspaper and was added by them to our column. Go figure!!!

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