At the beginning of the 17th year of the U.S. war in Iraq, Veterans For Peace continues to call on the government of the United States to immediately withdraw all military and intelligence forces from Afghanistan and Pakistan. We call on the government of the United States to provide humanitarian aid directly to the people of Afghanistan, in non-coercive forms, to help the Afghan people rebuild their own nation and their lives in cooperation with other nations in the region; to allow the people of Afghanistan to freely determine their own government without interference by the US; and to issue an official apology to the people of Afghanistan.
President Trump is the third president to continue the depraved and failed U.S. war policy in Afghanistan. He and Presidents Bush and Obama have claimed that the U.S. has a winning strategy in Afghanistan and that the U.S. public must continue to support the war efforts to maintain U.S. security and to help the people of Afghanistan. However, the truth is the war is killing the people of Afghanistan. After 16 years, civilian deaths are rising. A New York Times July 27th article reported that the United Nations Afghanistan Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict report states 1,662 civilians were killed in the first six months of 2017, a 2 percent increase from last year and 3,581 additional civilians were wounded. The report also states there is a 23 percent rise in the number of women killed and child deaths are up 9 percent.
The presence of U.S. forces is the primary driver of violence in Afghanistan and that 17 years ago there was no negotiations or dialogue with the former Afghan Taliban government to extradite Osama bin Laden. Instead the U.S. invaded Afghanistan and ousted a government the U.S. had formerly worked with. War was the first and only tool employed by the U.S. Since 2001, violence has increased significantly within Afghanistan, as well as the rise of militant groups. It is beyond clear that our presence is only aiding the further destabilizing of that entire region.
War is a death factory. Thousands of U.S. and coalition troops have died. Tens of thousands of service members have been wounded. Veteran suicide rates have increased dramatically since 2001. While the U.S. government claims to protect the people of Afghanistan, the Afghan people have lost the most to U.S. foreign policy. According to the Costs of War project at Brown University’s Watson Institute, that as of mid 2016 the combined total of deaths in Afghanistan and Pakistan stood at 173,000 with over 183,000 people seriously injured. Constant warfare and deaths can do nothing but inflame rage against the U.S. The U.S. must stop endless war. It is time to bring all our troops home now!