Afghanistan - Why we should bring our troops home

The war isn’t preventing Al Qa’ida training – the 9-11 hijackers trained at flight schools in the US; and 9 years after the invasion large parts of Afghanistan are still Taliban controlled. US intelligence reports 90% of NATO’s opponents in Afghanistan are not Taliban but local tribes resisting foreign invasion by NATO forces just as they resisted Soviet forces when they invade in the 1980s.


Our troops and Afghan civilians are dying (the latter continuing to die in NATO airstrikes and night raids as well as Taliban suicide bombings and attacks) without stopping Al Qa’ida or terrorism in any way. The war actually provides Al Qa’ida with a recruiting point. Labour, Liberals and Conservatives would keep troops there.


Afghans prepare the bodies of 8 boys, now recognised as civilians, killed in a NATO and Afghan army night raid on the village of Ghazi Khan in December 2009 – similar raids have killed civilians since


Afghans prepare the bodies of 8 boys, now recognised as civilians, killed in a NATO and Afghan army night raid on the village of Ghazi Khan in December 2009 – similar raids have killed civilians since


Seventy percent of Afghans say poverty and unemployment are the main causes of war in Afghanistan, with most people unable to get jobs or an income except by being a policeman, a soldier, a fighter for the Taliban or involved in the heroin trade.


Afghan children, barefoot and hungry


Afghan children, barefoot and hungry


Opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan from 1994 to 2008 increasing hugelyThe best way to end the war would be to create jobs in Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries in the world. One way to do this and reduce heroin production too would be to fund opiate based painkiller factories using poppy crops for medical painkillers rather than for heroin instead, to provide jobs other than in the heroin trade or as Taliban fighters, as suggested by the International Council on Security and Development and backed by the European Parliament.


The war, which is supposedly about reducing heroin production and stopping heroin being smuggled abroad, has actually led to a huge increase in production since the invasion, in both Taliban and Afghan government or NATO held areas. (For more on this see the red UN bar graph in this BBC report, as well as Professor Peter Dale Scott’s article here and this report on heroin smuggling from Afghanistan to Russia rocketing since the invasion in 2001)


Soldiers who have served in Afghanistan but now oppose the war and refuse to go back like Lance Corporal Joe Glenton have been sent to jail for taking a stand for what they believe in, even after they risked their lives for our country and told the truth as they see it, from their personal experience, about the war. This is completely unjust and shows how wrong government policy on Afghanistan and towards our troops has become. Of course prisoners can’t vote, so Joe Glenton, who has committed no crime except to serve his country and his conscience, won’t be able to vote in this election. That makes it more important that others speak out and vote against the war on his behalf.


Lance Corporal Joe Glenton – Jailed for refusing to go back to Afghanistan


Lance Corporal Joe Glenton – Jailed for refusing to go back to Afghanistan


Around 3,000 of the 9,500 British troops in Afghanistan won’t even be able to vote in this election due to logistical problems.


To read more about the war in Afghanistan, civilian casualties in it and it's impact on womens' rights, aid distribution and other issues see this blog post and this one and the sources for both.


To read about the other reasons for the war in Afghanistan - especially the evidence that it's to secure a pipeline route for oil and gas from former Soviet Republics to the Indian Ocean click this link