We have been very troubled by news coming out of Afghanistan this week. While we are building big demonstrations for March 20th along with the Iraq Peace Action Coalition, as well as another Zero Recruitment Day for April, with several other partners, but as important as these big projects are, we don’t want to ignore the important developments happening in Afghanistan right now. The offensive in Marjah has turned a major city into a ghost town, as tens of thousands of civilians hide in their homes while fighting rages around them. This operation is just the tip of the iceberg, as we expect to see more fighting, and more dying, in Afghanistan this year.
US to launch major campaign in Afghanistan in next 18 months 22 Feb 2010 US and NATO forces are all set to roll out an “intensive 18-month” ground campaign in Afghanistan to stamp out Taliban and al-Qaeda militants, top US generals have said warning the insurgents that Marjah offensive was just the start. “Marjah campaign where the Taliban resistance has only been disjointed is just an initial operation of what will be a 12 to 18 month campaign to overrun the Taliban,” General David Petraeus, the head of US Central Command told NBC television’s ‘Meet The Press’ programme.
Even today, Marjah is not the only place were occupation troops are responsible for civilian deaths. Civilians are paying a high price for the tens of thousands of new troops that President Obama has deployed to fight in Afghanistan.
Nato air strike kills 27 civilians in Afghanistan –A Nato air strike has killed at least 27 civilians including women and a child who were travelling in a convoy of minibuses. 22 Feb 2010 The botched attack on Sunday was the third ‘mistaken’ strike in a week and threatened to further strain relations between the Nato powers and President Hamid Karzai’s administration. General Stanley McChrystal, the senior coalition commander in Afghanistan, personally apologised to the president hours after the deaths, but the Afghan cabinet on Monday condemned the attack as “unjustifiable”. Nato had mistaken the convoy in Uruzgan province as carrying militants towards a base.
Nato admits that deaths of 8 boys were a mistake 25 Feb 2010 A night-time raid in eastern Afghanistan in which eight schoolboys from one family were killed was carried out on the basis of faulty intelligence and should never have been authorised, a Times investigation has found. Ten children and teenagers died when troops stormed a remote mountain compound near the border with Pakistan in December.
And for military families here the U.S., we’ve reached the sad milestone of 1,000 U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan, 54 of them this year. The American death toll is sure to rise, as the ground campaign intensifies and spreads to new parts of Afghanistan. The troop surge is causing a surge in civilian and troop deaths as well.
These reports are not making the nightly news reports here in the US. We’ve all got to do our part to keep opposition to this war visible and vocal. In addition to coming to upcoming events and protests, please take a few minutes to write a letter to the editor, and to call your senators and representatives. We don’t want to keep paying for this war with our tax dollars or human lives. Bring the troops home now.
Here are some links to get you started:
Star Tribune letters
Rep. Keith Ellison
Rep. Betty McCollum
Sen. Al Franken
Sen. Amy Klobuchar
the Anti-War Committee