Afghanistan

How many more leaked internal reports into criminal-sounding behaviour of some Australian army and special forces personnel do we need to demand the occupation troops in Afghanistan and Iraq be removed — immediately?

The threat of nuclear annihilation is closer than at any time since the end of the Cold War as two heads of state use nuclear weapons as props in what looks like a fight between two adolescent boys.

On one side is a narcissistic bully, born to inherit great power and with credible reports that his personal life includes indulging in acts of sadism, whose policies in government are driven by a combination of xenophobia, ego and whim and who is threatening nuclear Armageddon if he doesn't get his way.

On the other side is North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

Australian special forces routinely commit war crimes in Afghanistan.

Such a conclusion is strongly suggested by hundreds of pages of secret Australian Defence Force documents leaked to the ABC, which were revealed on July 11. 

Under President Barack Obama, the US acknowledged killing between 2867 and 3138 people in strikes in countries like Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan.

In the waning days of his presidency, Obama took some steps to improve transparency about drone strikes, including providing the total estimated death toll. However, a new report by the Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic and the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies says that the US is still lagging in providing a full accounting of its drone program.

On May 30, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was the first of the “coalition of the willing” to declare he would support US President Donald Trump’s request for more occupying troops in Afghanistan. Sydney Stop the War Coalition issued this statement which is abridged below.

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Sydney Stop the War Coalition opposes the Turnbull Coalition government’s decision to take up US President Donald Trump’s request and send more Australian troops to the quagmire in Afghanistan.

President Ashraf Ghani’s first visit to Australia prompted a sizable protest on April 3 among the Australian Hazara community amid claims of institutional discrimination against Hazaras in Afghanistan.

Numbering thousands, peaceful protesters gathered from across the country and demanded from the Afghan President equality, fair distribution of resources, and an end to governmental discrimination.

Hundreds of Afghans attended a candlelight vigil on the evening of July 27 to commemorate the horrific attack on protestors the previous weekend in Kabul, which left 80 civilians dead and 230 wounded.

Sixty people listened as refugees gave harrowing accounts of what had led them to seek asylum in Australia at a forum in Parramatta on July 15 organised by People Just Like Us.

Shokufa Tahiri and Ezatullah Salar spoke about the long history of oppression of the Hazara minority in Afghanistan.

In 1890, Abdur Rahman Khan exterminated 63% of the minority group and until the 1930s Hazaras were systematically driven out of cities, and deprived of citizenship and education. Under the Taliban, it became a crime to be Hazara, Turkic or Shia.


Zakia Baig from the Australian Hazara Women’s Friendship Network speaking at the rally.

One hundred and fifty people rallied in Melbourne on April 11 against the kidnapping of 31 Hazara people in Afghanistan. This action was part of Australia-wide rallies.

Vincent Emanuele is from the Iraq Veterans Against the War in the United States. He recently visited Australia to promote the documentary film On The Bridge which follows seven returning service men and women.

This is an edited version of a speech that he gave to a forum hosted by the Marrickville Peace Group, the Independent and Peaceful Australia network and Stop the War Coalition in Sydney on February 26.

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