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The message from Afghanistan is clear: the war must end now


Lindsey German
Stop the War Coalition
19 August 2011


The bomb which ripped through the British Council building in Kabul early this morning came with a clear message. Today is Afghanistan's Independence Day, a national holiday celebrating the country's gaining of independence from the British in 1919. The Afghans are having to fight for their independence from Britain all over again.

Consider the background to the latest Taliban bombing. Ten years ago the old imperial power, Britain, along with the much bigger new imperial power, the US, launched a war on what is among the poorest countries in the world, to capture bin Laden, overthrow the Taliban government and bring peace and democracy to Afghanistan.

Ten years on the war continues, at much higher human cost than in 2001. Last year was the most deadly of the war so far. There are unprecedented levels of corruption, stretching right to the US and British backed government headed by President Karzai itself. All the social and economic problems besetting the country remain, and have been overlaid by the war.

The defeated Taliban are now resurgent and are a threat to the occupying troops and to the government in many parts of the country. This is a war which politicians and military admit privately they are losing, but they fear the loss of face if they withdraw, especially after the disaster of Iraq. Instead they continue with a war increasingly reliant on air strikes, and which has now spread to Pakistan where unmanned drone attacks are the latest menace to come from the skies.

Of those killed in the bombing today, all appear to have been Afghans. Like in Baghdad, westerners are provided with safe rooms, specially protected areas and highly fortified building such as embassies. But, as many of them will be all too aware, none of this can shut out the reality of the situation indefinitely.

The bombing today demonstrates the dangers and instability of the situation -- an instability worsened by the war on terror which the British government continues to wage against all the evidence that it has failed. Indeed it has created more terrorism and war in its ten years.

As we approach the anniversary of the war, this must surely be the time to say this policy must end. The troops must be withdrawn, and Afghanistan must once again have independence from the British and US empires.

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