Pakistan

United States President Donald Trump announced that the US would continue the ongoing war in Afghanistan, which is already the longest war in US history, Democracy Now! reported on August 22.

The Pentagon is likely to deploy about 4000 more US troops to Afghanistan in the coming months. In recent months, the US has intensified its air war in Afghanistan. During June, the US carried out 389 airstrikes in Afghanistan — the highest monthly total in five years.

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.

Sydney University campus came alive with political discussion, talks and workshops for three days during the Socialism for the 21st Century Conference, held over May 13–15.

The conference had more than 30 sessions and 50 speakers, including international special guests Marta Harnecker, Michael Lebowitz and Ian Angus. Local and international activists shared their experiences of struggle and discussed the necessity of building alternatives to capitalism today. Up to 400 conference-goers faced the task of choosing from a range of stimulating sessions on offer.

Hashim bin Rashid, 25, the general secretary of the Lahore branch of the Awami Workers Party — recently formed out of the merger of three left parties in Pakistan — will be the international guest speaker at the Socialist Alliance ninth national conference to be held in Geelong Trades Hall, over January 18-20.

He replaces Alia Amirali who was not given a visa by Australian authorities in time to travel to the conference.

US relations with Pakistan have deteriorated as the US continues to extend its war in neighbouring Afghanistan across the border. The US blames the use of sanctuaries in Pakistan by insurgents for the failure of the US-led occupation of Afghanistan to achieve its aims.

Pakistan closed its border with Afghanistan after the September 30 shooting of three Pakistani soldiers by US soldiers in a helicopter. The US soldiers had crossed the border looking for insurgents.

The campaign to end Australia’s involvement in the unjust war in Afghanistan has picked up momentum in the last few months in Melbourne.

In December, a number of peace activists decided to organise regular anti-war activities, to tell people the truth about the foreign occupation force and call for Australian troops to be withdrawn.

Since then, three vigils have been held across Melbourne. Activists handed out hundreds of leaflets called “Eight reasons to get out of Afghanistan”.

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