Afghanistan: Bring the troops home now!

Australian soldier in Tarin Kowt, southern Afghanistan.

Ten years of Western military occupation and war in Afghanistan has killed  hundreds of thousands of people (mostly Afghan civilians), created millions of refugees and paid billions of dollars of “aid” into the hands of brutal warlords who serve as a puppet regime for the occupiers.

In October 2010, Australian academic Dr Gideon Polya has estimated the human cost of the war on and occupation of Afghanistan to include 4.9 million “violent deaths or non-violent avoidable deaths from cccupier-imposed deprivation”. Polya noted that this is on a similar scale to the Nazi Holocaust against Jewish people in WWII.

Nothing good has come out of this war which was an unjustifiable act of revenge for the 9/11 bombings in the US. It has been a monstrous, dragged out imposition of collective punishment on people who were not the perpetrators of 9/11. Indeed, a recent survey found that the great majority Afghans have never even heard of 9/11!

We associate collective punishment of innocent civilians with barbaric regimes like that of Hitler and Stalin. But in Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries invaded or bombed by the West in the 9/11 decade, the world has witnessed the governments of the so-called “democratic” West carry out an extended collective punishment of innocents.

These fine-suited, smooth-talking and smiling leaders of our governments are war criminals. If there was real international justice, they would be on trial along with the murderers of Sebrenica, Rawanda, etc.

Australia’s Labor government still refuses to obey the will of the great majority of Australians who want our troops to be withdrawn from Afghanistan. According  to a Galaxy poll conducted June 1-2, 62%  want to see all Australian troops home within six months. So far 27 Australian soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan.

However, according to a June 8 story by Tim Dick in the Sydney Morning Herald even talkback radio, a bastion of conservative opinion, has turned against the intervention:

“An analysis by Media Monitors found 69 per cent of calls to talkback radio about Afghanistan were against Australian troops remaining in the war. Callers to the commercial stations 2GB and 2UE in Sydney did not want it, nor did those to the less conservative stations ABC 774 and 3AW in Melbourne, nor those to 4BC in Brisbane.”

Some Australian soldiers have begun to speak out against the intervention, the article also noted.

For the last decade Green Left Weekly has been a consistent opponent of the imperialist war in Afghanistan and has provided a valuable platform for anti-war activists. Now the tide has turned in our favour. But we won’t stop fighting on this till the last soldier in the army of occupation is withdrawn.

If you want to help Green Left Weekly continue to be a voice against war, persecution and exploitation please make a donation online today to the Green Left Weekly Fighting Fund. So far our supporters have raised $85,751 of our $250,000 target for this year.

Direct deposits can be made to Green Left Weekly, Commonwealth Bank, BSB 062-006, Account No. 00901992.

Otherwise, you can send a cheque or money order to PO Box 515, Broadway NSW 2007 or phone in a donation on the toll-free line, 1800 634 206 (within Australia).

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