All foreign troops should leave Afghanistan

Issue 

The article below is based on an April 30 statement by the Stop the War Coalition Sydney http://www.stopwarcoalition.org.

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The Stop the War Coalition condemns the Rudd government for its decision to send 450 more troops to Afghanistan.

An extra 21,000 US troops are being sent for a troop "surge" in Afghanistan. NATO has agreed to send at least 5000 more. Now Australia, already the biggest non-NATO contributor of troops to the war, is following suit.

The Rudd Labor government's decision was made despite the fact that a March poll showed two thirds of Australians do not agree. It matches the arrogant dismissal of the will of the people by the previous Howard Coalition government.

Rudd's argument is that Australia has to send more troops to train Afghan troops who will defend the Afghan people from the Taliban. But since this war of Western occupation began in October 2001, the Afghan people have not been liberated.

Corruption is rife, opium production and distribution has flourished, and key social indicators, including employment, life expectancy, literacy and malnutrition have worsened.

Women have not been liberated and the hated Taliban has gained in strength.

In 2008, more than 2100 Afghan civilians were killed — an increase of 40% on the previous year according to the UN Mission in Afghanistan.

The 2008 civilian death toll was the highest of any year since 2001, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. This will only worsen as more foreign troops are sent.

Canberra spends some $575 million per year on this war, money that would be better spent on helping rebuild this devastated country and on essential services here.

The Stop the War Coalition says that all foreign troops should leave so that the people of Afghanistan have a chance to rebuild their country.